Peninsular Place


May 30, 2013

The Alley Bar

More articles by »
Written by: Tammy and Patti
Tags: , , , ,
Alley Bar

The best way to think about Alley Bar is “dive bar with options.” There are plenty of options at Alley Bar – from bottled beer to glasses of wine to craft cocktails. The space, on Liberty between Main and Ashley (yes, right next to an alley), has been through many name changes and owners through the years. People have been drinking there since at least the 1880s when it was Binders Saloon. The most recent incarnation of Alley Bar opened in 2010 when co-owner Robben Schulz and his partners “wanted to create a place where they would want to drink.” These days, manager and creative force Allyssa Bostick and bartender Phil Attee are familiar faces to the bar’s many regulars.

The Alley’s clientele is a mix of young professionals, graduate students and industry people. Staff from the new up and coming cocktail bars gather here after their shifts are done, sitting alongside folks getting a beer and shot. Or, if you prefer, you can get the Pickleback – a shot of Irish whiskey followed by a shot pickle brine.

Even bartenders who can drink for free at their own bars come to the Alley for the Pickleback. The pickle brine comes from The Brinery. This is not your Vlassic stork’s pickle juice. Made without vinegar and using the “old school” fermentation process of lactobacterial fermentation, the pickle brine presents a light and tangy drink. Garlic tingles in your throat as it brings out the lingering taste of whiskey while killing the burn. I’m not sure that I can ever drink a plain shot of whiskey again. (If you are familiar with the “lick it, slam it, suck it” tequila shots, think of the pickle juice as taking the place of the salt and lime.) Phil says that the bar didn’t make up the Pickleback, but “we made it the best.”

If pickle brine isn’t your thing, you can choose from wine, beer or cocktails. All of the draft beer is from Michigan and currently includes Right Brain’s Amber Ale, Greenbush’s Anger, Bell’s Lager of the Lakes and Arcadia’s Whitsun. The cocktails are many and varied, including a personal favorite of Patti’s called the Cucumber Melon. Other cocktails include the classic Sazerac, the Kentucky Mule (bourbon, mint, lemon, ginger beer) and the regularly changing Noble Experiment.

Alley Bar tends to fill up late as downtown restaurants close. If you want some quality hang out time to sit and chill with your friends, get there at 7 p.m. when they open. In the summer, that means you can get first dibs on the comfy couches in the front window and enjoy some people watching as Ann Arbor walks by. Grab a game of pinball in the back or check out the local art on the otherwise non-descript walls. Or just settle into the bar and drink really good drinks served by a bartender who’ll remember you next time you come in. Truly, the Alley has something for everyone.

About the Author

Tammy and Patti

Peninsular Place


Rock, Reading and Writing – S’Mittenfest!

20 bands, three stages, one great cause More people needed to experience Mittenfest. Last year’s annual end-of-year music festival spanned five days and stirred a surge of good cheer and charity. The scene’s camaraderie chu...
by Jeff Milo


Adventures in Local Food #31

Agricultural Mythologies Since April I’ve spent about 3.5 weeks in California, the land of culinary contradictions. There is some amazing food in California, it’s true – and you better believe that I was eating ev...
by Stefanie Stauffer


Camera Obscura’s Drive and Desire

Gavin Dunbar admits “…it’s been a long time coming.” The bassist for Glasgow-based indie-pop outfit Camera Obscura sounds as anxious as any fan, sighing with relief regarding their latest album, “Desire Lines” �...
by Jeff Milo


The Ragbirds - 2013 Ann Arbor Summer Festival

Defining a Culture: The Ann Arbor Music Scene

Ann Arbor is number one on Forbes Magazine’s 2010 list of “Top 10 College Towns,” number two on the list of “10 Great Cities For Raising Families (Kiplinger 2010),” the seventh best city in America to find a job (US N...
by John Pederson

Peninsular Place
Family of the Year

Sonic Lunch // Family of the Year [Social Review]

Yesterday, Bank of Ann Arbor’s Sonic Lunch free summer concert series was a full-on family affair. Hailing from Los Angeles, Family of the Year rocked Liberty Plaza with songs from their full-length album Loma Vista (2012), a...
by Jenn Sibert



Sonic Lunch Preview: Darren Criss & Theo Katzman

                    If there is any doubt that Ann Arbor has become one of the greatest music cities in America, this week’s Sonic Lunch will quash that. Tomorrow Glee star Da...
by Jenn Sibert


Sonic Lunch Starts Today!

Finally it is summertime in Ann Arbor, which means time for Sonic Lunch! Once again Bank of Ann Arbor’s free summer concert series is bringing incredible talent to the community. The series will begin with Martha Reeves &...
by Jenn Sibert

Ann Arbor Summer Festival

Cinetopia LASTING

Cinema Comes Alive at the Cinetopia International Film Festival

If you’re anything like me when it comes to “art house” cinema, you’ll peruse the film ‘zines during your normal daily routine: your /film, Pajiba, FirstShowing, THR, Box Office Mojos of the world and think “That lo...
by Drew Waller


Ypsiarboroo 2013

Every year in early June, like the swallows of Capistrano, so descends the profound craziness that is Ypsiarboroo. This annual bacchanal is coincident with organizer/gadabout Christopher “Chewy” Anderson’s birthday, and t...
by Jasmine Zweifler

Sonic Lunch

Sonic Lunch | New Menu, Same Great Taste

Serendipity is a beautiful thing, dear readers. So you can imagine my delight when looking hungrily over this year’s Sonic Lunch lineup that I saw Martha Reeves and the Vandellas would be opening the season. Their monster hit...
by Jasmine Zweifler


Ann Arbor Summer Festival