Rick’s American Cafe is the equivalent of a bumper sticker that says “I went out one night in Ann Arbor and all I got was this stupid hangover.” This is the place to get drunk, dance with some strangers and wake up the next morning to a flurry of texts asking how last night went. The unique thing about Rick’s is that it functions both as Ann Arbor’s premiere college bar and a test of character. If you manage to brave the line (arguably a club in its own right), fend off people you’d prefer not to acknowledge once inside and catch the bartender’s eye for a drink, know that you’ve completed a major feat.
Rick’s encapsulates what a college bar is, really. It’s loud, dark and crowded, the logical next-step after frat parties run their course. It’s situated on South U, the seedier, more exciting area of nightlife in Ann Arbor and boasts $1 well drinks on Thursdays. It shares a name with the locale where Rick and Ilsa come together in “Casablanca” (because Ann Arbor is a town of culture, damnit). Even if you hate going out, come to Rick’s to have one wild night before you graduate — just to say you did. Pregame at a friend’s, talk it out at mash, then hit Rick’s and leave it all on the dance floor.