Ashley's

Not Rated.
Ashley'sAshley's
BA SCORE
95
world-class

82 Reviews
Reviews: 82
Visits: 121
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: n/a
Taps: 72
Bottles: 200
Cask: Y
[ Bar, Eatery ]

338 S State St
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104-2412
United States
phone: (734) 996-9191

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @a2ashleys

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Reviews: 82 | Visits: 121
Photo of slander
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Brewpub, brewpub, and now what? We're still in Ann Arbor, but I think we've got some time yet. The bright, hot yellow-orange thing is still up there in the sky so it can't be too late. I think we're now moving in a different direction than where we left the car...
The bartender was drinking Bell's Two Hearted Ale on cask. I immediately asked het to marry me, but she didn't reply (She, deep in thought, contemplating my offer, to be sure). The "L" seat bar seats about 10, with 7 raised bar and some shorter tables in the adjacent pen beneath a massive mirror. Brick walls, stucco ceiling, duct work, colored glass lamps and track lighting, beer signs, placards, mirrors, a good juke box, stained glass panels to the rear facing into the far room, and a single TV above rear the corner of the bar.
The rear room holds 12 booths and a handful of tables, the walls decorated with mirrors, and beer bottles lining the room and the posts over the entranceways. Likewise with the forward rooom, a 6 table nook along the front windows. Downstairs, there's a room with another "L" shaped bar, this one seating a dozen. Phil's golf game and foosball but otherwise, dark, dim, and creepy. I'm a-scared, I'm goin' back upstairs.
70 taps and 3 casks (Bell's Two Hearted Ale & Porter, and the DogFishHead 90 Minute IPA). Taps behind the bar in a single row beneath shelves of booze runs the length. Blackboards above list the specials. A very good collection of Michigan beers (Arcadia, Dark Horse, Bell's, New Holland, Motor City, Short's, Dragonmead, Founders, King Brewing, Joly Pumpkin), micros near and far (DogFishHead, Harpoon, Great Lakes, Sierra Nevada, Celis, Anchor, Sam Adams, Lionheart), Belgians (Delirium Tremons, Gulden Draak, Piraat, La Chouffe, Hoegaarden, Duchesse De Bourgogne), Germans (Franziskaner, Weihenstephan, Ayinger, Warsteiner, Reissdorf Kolsch, Spaten), a hat trick of Irish Stouts (Guinness, Beamish & Murphy's), ciders and more.
60 plus bottles show a larger selection of Belgians (Achel, Westmalle, Rochefort, Orval, Chimay, Triple Karmeliet, Piraat, Caracole, Fantome, Duchesse, Delirium, Duvel, Chouffe, Gulden Draak), English & Scottish, and a nice focus on Porters & Stouts.
They've also got wines, small batch bourbons, single malts, and do Martini's. A late night munchies menu shows Fries, Stix, Nachos, Wings & Rings. Service was pleasant, beer was outstanding. The deal!! (2,410 characters)

Photo of ahking
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

This is a great place to try new beers in Ann Arbor. You can always try a new beer on tap here. Well over sixty on tap and lots in the bottle. Atmosphere is nice, dark, and crowded (on weekends). Carved up wooden tables and booths surrounded by carved up wooden walls. This may not be too sanitary, but really adds to the rustic atmosphere. The only thing I have ever eaten there is the Stilton Chicken salad and it was excellent. Service has always been quite good with lots of people on staff. Some of the beers can be pricey (like 21 bucks for a glass of 120 Minute IPA...), but if you want selection this is the place. You might just get a little crazy off a nice tripel and end up ordering the 120 minute... (712 characters)

Photo of macpapi
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Ever since starting Grad School at U of M, far too many years ago, Ashley's has been my favorite place in town. So upon returning after nearly two years away doing research I've decided to finally getting around to reviewing it. Located right across State Street from the Diag and the heart of Central Campus, Ashleys is situated on a prime piece of Ann Arbor real estate and a perfect gathering place for many campus associated professionals and post-undergraduate students. Its clientele do not allow for it to ever get too hectic, noisy or crowded even on Friday nights during the semester (though football Saturday nights can be a different story with alumni returning, celebrating, etc..) This contributes to the relaxed atmosphere. The bar has a cozy feel, almost what one would think a British pub to feel like, with dim lighting, wooden tables and stools, and a small barfront where all 70 odd taps can be easily viewed. There is a game area downstairs, that I have never frequented, and the upstairs has several tables in the front portion overlooking State Street and campus and a back area with ample privacy available.

Service is good. Although the servers often don't know a great deal about the beer, bartenders are always ready to help out. Additionally, the beer menu gives good descriptions with a flavor rating, telling how full or light each beer is--though some of the numbers seem rather arbitrary. The choice of samplers (you can get four four oz Belgian drafts for $6.50) is a great option, as there are so many beers to choose from. And oh the beers to choose from!! Of the fifteen Belgians, nine are on draft--including Golden Draak and Piraat, two of my personal favorites. The hand-pulled London Pride is also a great choice. There are many fine Michigan brews represented, mostly on draft but others in bottles. The menu is very strong on British style ales, going along with their overall theme, but all styles are well represented.

I'll give the food a pass. I haven't tried any in years, but from what I remember of it, it is nothing beyond regular pub fare and a bit overpriced at that. I don't go to Ashley's to eat. It is the perfect place to visit for happy hour on a Friday afternoon/early evening, just to hang out with a couple of friends and try some good, rare and not too expensive brews. To my mind, this is Ann Arbor's crown jewel!! (2,383 characters)

Photo of granger10
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped by here around midday on a Friday. Place was fairly empty even though I thought there might be a few more people having lunch. Kind of dark with two stories. The downstairs having a pool table and a few arcade games (golden tee). Immediate look at the tap line is amazing. Soooo many taps and so many Michigan micro taps which I have never seen. Shorts, JP, Dragonmead, Kuhnhenn, a few odd taps from the usual suspects like Bell's, New Holland, and Arcadia. The Belgian tap list was extraordinary and there were many more. Mostly craft beer on tap, hardly any macro's. Fuller's Pride on hand pull. They offer sampler flights which seems like the best idea to try different beers for a cheaper price. They had the Duchesse on tap which amazed me, I have never seen a Flander's Red on tap before. Food looked like it would be good, maybe a bit pricey, but I spent all my money on the beers. Too many choices, too little money. Looks like it could get smoky and crowded at night but this is the place in Michigan to get lots and lots of good tap beers. (1,057 characters)

Photo of JohnnyAngel
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 2.5

With 65 draught beers available this place is amazing. It was my first port of call when I arrived in Ann Arbor. It's an extremely friendly place to just sit back and drink and chat with those who are regulars or just visiting. I went with the intention of noting the cask ale they had available. Sadly, after two pints of something that was amazingly in the 8 or 9% range I don't remember what it was. I remember getting to the second pint and thinking, "This is like wine". After two amazing pints pulled from one of two or three beer engines, (which looked like six by the time I left), I decided that two was going to be my limit when normally 3 or 4 is enough. Fortunately I had time to wander around Ann Arbor to walk it off before heading back to my hotel. The food isn't great but the beer more than makes up for it. Being in Ann Arbor for 5 days I tried a few of the other places that sells cask and all of them excellent, but I couldn't resist making one more call there just before I left. (1,000 characters)

Photo of frazbri
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I stopped at Ashley's with my brother and another friend on Saturday at 5pm. The sign in front is easy to miss, but it is not to hard to find. On street parking is limited, but there is a parking garage a block behind State.

This is a nice college bar. It's not huge, but plenty of seating is available. The food is standard pub fair, with a few vegitarian options. We opted to sit in the non-smoking section located to the left of the entrance. Music was slightly louder than background, but not intrusuve. They have one of those internet jukeboxes, so who knows what you'll hear. Unfortunately somebody was in the mood for a few Bob Dylan songs. (nothing against the songs, but his singing...)

We started with a nicely breaded fried zuchini appetizer. I ordered the chicken portobella pizza, and the guys opted for burgers. All our food was tasty, but nothing great. Our service was a little slow, but pleasant. She was quick to offer recomendations when we ordered beers they were out of.

The reason we stopped at Ashley's is the beer. They tout 70 taps, but more than a couple beers were out. Ashley's has the largest selection of Michigan beers I've run across. Arcadia, Bell's, Dark Horse, Dragonmead, Founder's, Jolly Pumpkin, King, and New Holland all had at least one tap. Beyond beers of Michigan, British and Belgian beers are plentiful. They also have a couple cask ales. My brother went with a Dogfishhead 90 Minute from the beer engine. I had the Dragonmead Honey Porter.

This is a good place to have a pint or two (or more). Pint prices run from $4.00 to $8.00. Selection is outstanding. If this place was 50 miles closer, I'd stop in all the time.

June 13, 2005 - I've upgraded my service rating. My brother and I stopped yesterday, and had one of the most knowledgable servers I've had anywhere. Also of note, now featuring a rotating tap from Short's, Dragonmead, and Rogue (plus five other rotating brewers, I can't recalI now) I really liked this place before, but now I'm a little more impressed. (2,033 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

In the heart of Ann Arbor, across the street from U of M. This is a very cozy, comfortable brew stop. 60 taps, with three on cask when I visited. Nice. Fine selections O' pleanty. They also have an extensive bottle list. Food was not sampled but the menu and food being munched all around me looked diverse and tasty. Very friendly staff, good music in the background, what else could you want? I visited in the afternoon, so crowd was moderate and mellow. I was told this place is mobbed in the evenings, I can understand why. (527 characters)

Photo of BeerFink
4.7/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Stopped in for the first time yesterday, and was very impressed. I was there for lunch, but first things first - I picked up their drinks menu (which was an entire binder). They have all of their beer selections neatly categorized with short descriptions of everything. With around 70 beers on tap, it is sometimes hard to decide. They make it easy by offering free samples. The waiter was very knowledgeable about the beers and was able to make good suggestions. He even brought me extra samples that I didn't ask for because he figured I'd like them (he was right). I had a burger and fries to eat, which was pretty good. The atmosphere is pretty cool - lots of breweriana, but not enough to make things cluttered. Also, there was some good music being played piped in. When I was paying attention, it was some good jazz and classic rock. The music was very quiet - it was not intrusive at all. I'm glad I'm not too far from Ann Arbor. I think I'm going to have to make a habit of this place. (994 characters)

Photo of nomad
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Ashley's is an integral member of the Ann Arbor beer scene, with a welcoming interior and the best beer selection you'll find for many miles in Southeast Michigan. Since it's 20 yards from the Univ. of Michigan campus you, your buddy, your shadow, everyone will be carded and thoroughly given the once over, and then seated by a hostess. Its a pain that you can't just amble on in, but there are plenty of drunk undergrads stumbling around the neighborhood, so I understand.

Upstairs is lots of wood interior, tasteful breweriana, and a nice jukebox. There is no standing room, only seating, but the basement downstairs has a foosball table, Golden Tee, and a cramped but large enough array for groups to stand.

The beer selection has about 60 taps, 3 casks, and dozens of bottled beer. They work hard at covering a truly wide array of styles from Russia to the West Coast U.S., easily covering any taste any day. For example, they keep thick winter beers like Scotch and Old ales up year round. Though the casks seem to be served correct, at least in terms of temperature, they can go flat as expected at a place with such a wide selection. I've not had a truly good cask ale, you can tell they've been up for more than a few days. More like often a week or more.

Service is fair enough. The food is just pub grub though the Stilton Fries are made by angels in heaven. But if you hanker for anything from Weihenstephan Weisse to Fuller's London Pride to Caracole, they'll have it. And a gang of great liquor. (1,519 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Nice relatively small pub right on the corner of U of M campus. Somewhat small "dining room" and very small bar. There is a much bigger bar in the basement which was a prett cool place, very cave-like.
Food was average to slighly above average pub grub. Menu was pretty varied and something for everyone, even are Vegan friends.
Beer and whiskey list is very impressive Issue for me is that they don't have everything they advertise on draught and not sure about some of the slower moving kegs or the cleanliness and maintenance of the lines.
Service also quite frankly sucked and was not a high point.
All that said, it was very cool to see 50-60 taps lined up in about a 30 sq. ft. area and they get very high marks for having some cask conditioned beers available for trying to promote draught beer as key part of the experience. (836 characters)

Photo of PhantomVodoo
4/5  rDev -6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Over 60 beers on tap. My only concern is whether they keep the beer fresh and care for the lines properly with that many taps. More available in bottles. Large selection of Michigan microbreweries. Great selection, obviously.
Beer tap handles, signs, posters, bottles, etc. cover the walls and shelves creating a neat atmosphere for a beer lover. Could use a little freshening up though. Beer bottles look like they haven't been touched in years.
Service was fast and friendly, but our waitress didn't have a lot of knowledge about the beer side of things. We didn't test the bartenders knowledge.
My brother-in-law and I were both thoroughly pleased with our food which arrived very quickly.
Was surprisingly empty for 6pm on a Saturday night, but I'm sure that changes when U. of M. isn't on summer break. (813 characters)

Photo of marburg
3.53/5  rDev -17.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

When I first began my quest for beer perfection, Ashley's was my favorite bar, hands down. As an undergrad at U-M, it was right next to campus and thus a perfect place to grab a beer. With 60 taps, it seemed pretty daunting.

But as I began to leave the nest a bit, so to speak, and find other bars, I realized that the chairs were all breaking, the beer was getting more expensive, some of the kegs must have been ancient, beers were consistently being served at a variety of temperatures that weren't necessarily correct, there was little variety in glassware, if they run out of the proper glass you'll get your beer in a juice glass, and it was pretty smoky (which I'd never minded until it started impeding my beer drinking). Oh, and there are lots of beer bars in the world with better selections -- so even that wasn't too impressive anymore.

Definitely order two beers at once. Maybe your server will make it back by the time you're finishing that second brew. (OK, slight exaggeration.)

I still visit Ashley's -- but generally nowhere near peak times. Some of the food is pretty good (the Jerk Chicken sandwich is awesome), though it pales in comparison to the Heidelberg or even Conor O'Neill's, and they obviously have a good amount of beer for a Detroit/Ann Arbor area bar. But you can tell it's a student hang out because it gets run like one. (1,364 characters)

Ashley's in Ann Arbor, MI
95 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.