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The orange-colored cocktail sits next to a glass candle holder on a wooden table in a dimly lit bar. Photo by Brittany Greeson for The Washington Post via Getty Images

11 Ideal Date Night Spots in Ann Arbor

From secluded cocktail lounges to special occasion restaurants with perfect plating

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Date nights can mean different things to different people, whether it’s a first date, an anniversary, or just a casual night out. And depending on the occasion, the destination could vary widely from a fine dining restaurant to a more casual bar with great drinks.

Finding a place that fits the mood shouldn’t be difficult, but somehow it always is. Fear not: there are a number of excellent spots offering the right vibes and lighting. From dimly-lit cocktail bars with live jazz to a dessert bar with a cigar lounge to upscale special occasion eateries, here’s where to take a date in Ann Arbor.

What’s your favorite spot for a special night out? Drop a note in the comments or reach out to Eater Detroit at the tipline.

Next Read: 18 Memorable Date Night Destinations in Metro Detroit

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Last Word

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301 W Huron St
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Speakeasies check all the boxes for a romantic night out: They’re hidden away and dimly lit with plenty of easy drinking cocktails. The Last Word’s underground locale embodies all of these. Bartenders here serve original and classic cocktails from a book-themed menu with live jazz or DJs for some added ambiance.

2. The Earle

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121 W Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 994-0211
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The dark and moody underground dining room at the Earle has made it a favorite date-night location for decades. Live jazz and a huge wine list make for a complete romantic dining experience.

3. Pacific Rim By Kana

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114 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-9303
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French techniques, quality ingredients, cocktails, and a quiet, romantic atmosphere make Pacific Rim a go-to destination for date nights. The wine list is a worthy complement to the pan-Asian cuisine.

4. Alley Bar

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112 W Liberty Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 662-8757
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An evening out doesn’t always have to be about dinner in a fancy, fine dining establishment. Alley Bar’s unpretentious, come-as-you-are atmosphere and strong cocktails can make for a casual, no-nonsense night of conversation. 

5. Café Zola

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112 W Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 769-2020
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Cafe Zola is a popular brunch and breakfast spot, but the dinner rooted in French and Mediterranean cuisine musn’t be missed. Even as its busiest, the dimly lit dining room creates an intimate atmosphere.

6. Dessous

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312 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-0202
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Dessous takes its name from the French word for “below,” a fitting description for the remodeled subterranean space. The refined and cozy atmosphere transports diners to a place completely sheltered from the world outside. Chef Eve Aronoff’s seasonal menu features classics from her repertoire as well new, globally inspired creations such as the Indian-spice braised lamb shank.

7. Black Pearl Ann Arbor

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302 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 222-0400
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Test the waters at the Black Pearl over a plate of oysters on the half shell, brought in fresh daily. An extensive cocktail list and dark mood lighting will also help set the tone for a night out.

8. La Dolce Vita Ann Arbor

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322 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(888) 456-3463
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The cozy space filled with couches and comfy chairs at La Dolce Vita makes it the perfect spot to indulge in decadent desserts during an evening out. For even more seclusion, head downstairs to the restaurant’s cigar lounge.

9. Taste Kitchen

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521 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 369-4241
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From the outside, Taste Kitchen’s small, downtown space might seem unassuming, but the French and Asian-influenced menu features dishes with intricate presentations. The focus on sophistication and elegance proves that romantic dinners don’t always require candlelight.

Meat on the bone with an egg yolk perched on top. Taste Kitchen [Official photo]

10. Dolores

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6 S Washington St
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
(734) 961-7926
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For something a little more casual, head over to Dolores and enjoy Mexican favorites like carne asada tacos, mushroom quesadillas, and potato-chorizo flautas served in a modern atmosphere. The restaurant has an extensive list of tequilas and mezcals are sure to add some excitement whether served straight up or in one of the innovative cocktails. 

11. Ollie Food + Spirits

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42 E Cross St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198
(734) 482-8050
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Ypsilanti destination Ollie Food + Spirits specializes in seasonal New American dishes and quality cocktails. Located in Depot Town, the refined, yet unpretentious atmosphere feels like fine dining without the fussiness.

1. The Last Word

301 W Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Speakeasies check all the boxes for a romantic night out: They’re hidden away and dimly lit with plenty of easy drinking cocktails. The Last Word’s underground locale embodies all of these. Bartenders here serve original and classic cocktails from a book-themed menu with live jazz or DJs for some added ambiance.

301 W Huron St
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

2. The Earle

121 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The dark and moody underground dining room at the Earle has made it a favorite date-night location for decades. Live jazz and a huge wine list make for a complete romantic dining experience.

121 W Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

3. Pacific Rim By Kana

114 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

French techniques, quality ingredients, cocktails, and a quiet, romantic atmosphere make Pacific Rim a go-to destination for date nights. The wine list is a worthy complement to the pan-Asian cuisine.

114 W Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

4. Alley Bar

112 W Liberty Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

An evening out doesn’t always have to be about dinner in a fancy, fine dining establishment. Alley Bar’s unpretentious, come-as-you-are atmosphere and strong cocktails can make for a casual, no-nonsense night of conversation. 

112 W Liberty Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

5. Café Zola

112 W Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Cafe Zola is a popular brunch and breakfast spot, but the dinner rooted in French and Mediterranean cuisine musn’t be missed. Even as its busiest, the dimly lit dining room creates an intimate atmosphere.

112 W Washington St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

6. Dessous

312 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dessous takes its name from the French word for “below,” a fitting description for the remodeled subterranean space. The refined and cozy atmosphere transports diners to a place completely sheltered from the world outside. Chef Eve Aronoff’s seasonal menu features classics from her repertoire as well new, globally inspired creations such as the Indian-spice braised lamb shank.

312 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

7. Black Pearl Ann Arbor

302 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Test the waters at the Black Pearl over a plate of oysters on the half shell, brought in fresh daily. An extensive cocktail list and dark mood lighting will also help set the tone for a night out.

302 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

8. La Dolce Vita Ann Arbor

322 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The cozy space filled with couches and comfy chairs at La Dolce Vita makes it the perfect spot to indulge in decadent desserts during an evening out. For even more seclusion, head downstairs to the restaurant’s cigar lounge.

322 S Main St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

9. Taste Kitchen

521 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Meat on the bone with an egg yolk perched on top. Taste Kitchen [Official photo]

From the outside, Taste Kitchen’s small, downtown space might seem unassuming, but the French and Asian-influenced menu features dishes with intricate presentations. The focus on sophistication and elegance proves that romantic dinners don’t always require candlelight.

521 E Liberty St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

10. Dolores

6 S Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

For something a little more casual, head over to Dolores and enjoy Mexican favorites like carne asada tacos, mushroom quesadillas, and potato-chorizo flautas served in a modern atmosphere. The restaurant has an extensive list of tequilas and mezcals are sure to add some excitement whether served straight up or in one of the innovative cocktails. 

6 S Washington St
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

11. Ollie Food + Spirits

42 E Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI 48198

Ypsilanti destination Ollie Food + Spirits specializes in seasonal New American dishes and quality cocktails. Located in Depot Town, the refined, yet unpretentious atmosphere feels like fine dining without the fussiness.

42 E Cross St
Ypsilanti, MI 48198

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