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“Electric,” “buzzin,” “yummy,” “double-well-drinks,” “slutty,” “playful,” “Thursday,” “a-little-sticky,”

“beautifully messy,” “impossible,” “essential”: We asked Michigan Daily staffers to describe Rick’s American Cafe in one word, and this is just a small sample of what they came up with. 

It is obvious that Rick’s evokes a variety of feelings and sensations, but something about it keeps us all coming back, Thursday night after Thursday night. (The infamous bar is, of course, open on other nights, but nothing can beat standing in a line stretching down the alley, in the frigid weather, knowing in your heart that you will not attend your Friday morning discussion section.)

Established in 1979, Rick’s has been a favored campus haunt of scores of upperclassmen, offering a down-to-earth (it’s literally in a basement) club vibe and $2 well drinks before 10 p.m. The Daily Meal named the bar one of the top 25 college bars in America, and it’s easy to see why. It’s not an exaggeration to say Rick’s has embedded itself in campus culture and tradition; Rick’s on your 21st birthday has become an Ann Arbor rite of passage. Both of yours truly have descended into Ann Arbor’s lovably grungy nightlife hotspot to celebrate milestones, as have countless others, including Michael Phelps (allegedly). Rick’s truly is a step above, even while being a whole flight of stairs below.

So, the next time you put on your “going-out top,” tuck your ID and $5 cover in your pocket and make your way down to dance under the light of the shining orange neon sign, know that you are enjoying the Best Nightlife of Ann Arbor. 

Managing News Editor Dominic Coletti and Editor-in-Chief Paige Hodder can be reached at and