Welcome to Maize n Review, a new series on here where we rundown what some of the restaurants, bars, establishments and more in Ann Arbor and the community have to offer.
There are a ton of people who want to be a part of the gameday atmosphere, but do not necessarily have the means or desire to buy a ticket to the Big House. Hopefully with these, we are able to shed some light and give you some options for places to check out whether you’re in the area for a game or just want to try something different.
(Note: We were not compensated to write the review, but were invited to check out the space and grab lunch to give it a try)
The first business that we’re taking a look at is the recently-opened Jim Brady’s on 209 S Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor. It’s between Washington and Liberty streets and almost directly across the street from BD’s Mongolian Grill and a little further north than the Pretzel Bell, for reference.
Jim Brady’s Ann Arbor is the second location with the other being located in Royal Oak.
The immediate thing that stands out about this place is the property, which was vacant for many years before partners Tom Brady (familiar name, huh?) and Darin Dingman opened the doors at Jim Brady’s Ann Arbor in December. The building has been a fixture in Downtown Ann Arbor since 1861 and now holds a restaurant and bar that’s right on the main drag for fans making the walk from downtown to the Big House.
Work on the interior was designed by the Rossetti architecture firm, who has worked on projects such as the Greektown Casino and Hotel and Cobo Center in Downtown Detroit, Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland (now Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse) and many more. The look inside is awesome with a 1950’s vibe, yet a clean and modern look. It’s a really visually appealing space and that alone makes at least stopping in for a drink worth it.
Jim Brady’s has three levels and two bars inside of it. The first level is your standard bar/eatery-type of setup, but once you head upstairs is where things get even more cool.
Level two is an open space that features a 222-inch projection screen television that can be viewed either from their level or up higher in a third level that overhangs level two (pictured above). It really is a great space for a watch party or just to hang out and see the game on a big screen.
The third level is perhaps my favorite space in this building.
The “gangster”-style booths up front are right at the edge of the balcony and overhang the area with the giant screen, which makes it a perfect space for a private event or party of some kind.
The layout and design is great and one thing, but it is window dressing if the food and beverage selection does not match the hype. The good news here is that it does and as far as the beer and food menu goes, things are pretty reasonably priced with a stated emphasis of Michigan-made products. Jim Brady’s has most tradition bottles and cans starting around $3.50 or $4 each, as well as a wide variety of Michigan craft brews from places like Short’s, Founders, Frankenmuth, Bell’s and more. You can expect to pay about $5 for a 15-ounce beer on top and $7 for a 20-ouncer in most cases.
Jim Brady’s is perhaps best known for their hamburgers and as a burger guy myself, it was one of the better offerings I’ve had in Ann Arbor. I ordered The Shroom King, which the menu describes as “Brady’s Zip soaked Shrooms, Swiss Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles and Red Onions” and it was terrific.
Overall, I really enjoyed the vibe of the place and felt like the beer menu pretty much covered what I would want out of a bar on gameday if I was a fan stopping in. If you plan on heading to Ann Arbor on a college football Saturday and are hopping through different establishments on Main Street, throw this place into the rotation.
Jim Brady’s Ann Arbor is open from 11 a.m.-midnight from Thursday to Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday to Wednesday. For more information, including the full menu and more background, check out the website here.
If you’ve been to either of the Jim Brady’s locations, let us know in the comments below. If there’s a place you think we should try next or deserves a write-up in the area, drop a suggestion!