The 9 best summer bars in Ann Arbor

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

(Photo: Sava's Ann Arbor)

ANN ARBOR - We asked, and you answered.

Here are your recommendations on the best spots in town to get a cold beer or refreshing cocktail this summer, whether indoors or al fresco.

Dominick's
812 Monroe St.

Just a stone's throw from the University of Michigan's scenic Law Quad, Dominick's serves up delicious pastas, pizzas, salads and soups, but it is most known for its sangria, which is served in mason jars.

In the summer months, this New Orleans-style spot's patio is packed with patrons enjoying good food and drinks at picnic tables with colorful decor.

"It's not summer without mason jars of sangria and margaritas at Dominick's!" - Barb C.


(Photo: Pexels)

The rooftop at Palio
347 S. Main St.

Pair a delicious wine with authentic Italian food at this classic summer spot.

Located on Main Street in the heart of downtown, Palio is perfect for warm-weather dates. Try its Capellini Con Pollo Funghi or its pizza with artichoke, portabello mushroom, oven-dried tomatoes, spinach and mozzarella and goat cheeses.

Ann Arbor Distilling Company
220 Felch St.

The bartenders at A2 Distilling Co. are true pros, and according to distiller John Charles Britton, it is a place for the community to gather and enjoy hospitality on a whole different level.

The outdoor patio is a great space to sip on drinks distilled just feet away, such as the herbal Summer Gin or Water Hill Eau de Vie cherry brandy.


(Photo: Ann Arbor Distilling Company)

Read: Ann Arbor Distilling Company: Not your average spirits

Sava's
216 S. State St.

With indoor and outdoor seating for 300 and an extensive menu suited to all tastes, it's no wonder Sava's is a local favorite.

Its drink menu is just as diverse, with some cocktails using spirits sourced from local distilleries, such as A2 Distilling Co. On a hot day, we recommend the Vida Eterna, which is a blend of mezcal, jalapeno pineapple shrub, allspice dram, lime and cilantro -- or On Rooberry Hill, which consists of bourbon, Cocchi Americano, blueberry, mint, lemon, orange bitters and seltzer. 

"I love the Sandia Sucia and other yummy drinks at Sava's. Great to relax on the patio with a drink there!" - Melissa C.


(Photo: Sava's Ann Arbor)

Pileated Brewing Company
2290 South Industrial Highway

A newer kid on the block in the A2 brewery scene, Pileated crafts beers based on flavor profiles rather than traditional categories, and locals are loving it.

If you're in the mood for a cold beer, we recommend trying the Cherry Blonde Ale aged with tart Michigan cherries, or the Belgian-style Red-Bearded Father, which has lemon and spice notes. Can't decide? The beer flights are also a popular choice.

"Of course we use style guidelines in an attempt to convey what beer awaits you in your bottle; just be aware that it will most likely be defiantly and rebelliously out of bounds." - Pileated Brewing Co.

Another fun fact? Pileated encourages you bring your own food -- or have it delivered -- or bring a bottle of wine for a $5 corkage fee.


(Photo: Pileated Brewing Company)

Black Pearl
302 S. Main St.

The downtown seafood eatery known for its fish tacos and caramel apple salmon also serves up delicious cocktails to pair with your meal or a few appetizers.

Its St. Gin features gin, St. Elder, fresh lemon and lime juice. Its signature Black Pearl cocktail consists of blueberry vodka, apple cider and elderflower.

"St. Gin at The Black Pearl tastes like summer to me!" - Vanessa R.


(Photo: Black Pearl)

HOMES Brewery
2321 Jackson Ave.

This newer brewery on the west side has been making national headlines for its experimental fruit beers and beer slushies.

Its Instagram feed is absolute eye candy for beer lovers and its patio is typically packed. So what's on the menu? If you're feeling adventurous, we recommend the Peach Vanilla Sherbet, a lactose kettle sour blended with peaches and aged Madagascar vanilla. If you're hungry, its pan-Asian cuisine knocks it out of the park.

Read: Ann Arbor's HOMES Brewery gets national attention with its purple beer

The Ravens Club
207 S. Main St.

This popular downtown spot features lots of live jazz and is a fun place to get a drink. 

Featuring 150 American whiskeys and local Michigan beers on tap, it has an impressive bar, to say the least. Its cocktails include such classics as the Hand-Pulled Old Fashioned and Gin & Tonic using A2 Distilling Co.'s gin, but it also features more eccentric drinks, such as the Cabin on Saturn with Hayman's Old Tom Gin, passion fruit, sage shrub and soda.


(Photo: The Ravens Club)

Frita Batidos
117 W. Washington

While the Cuban street food concept is best known for its burgers, or fritas, and milkshakes, or batidos, it also makes some of the best hand-muddled mojitos in town. In addition to mojitos, it serves traditional Cuba Libres, or rum and cokes, margaritas and sangria, depending on the season.

Another tip? For $1, they will add a splash of black rum to your milkshake.

Happy hour is from 4-6 p.m. Sunday to Thursday.


(Photo: Frita Batidos)

Where are your favorite places to get a drink in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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