I don’t really have to tell you this, because in your heart you already know it: Ashley’s is what a bar is supposed to be. At Ashley’s, patrons can find the finest of drinks, the closest of friends and — the deal-breaker — the most perfect of atmospheres. The heavenly joint’s honey-brown and milk-chocolaty hues, weathered brick walling and hazy lights all blanket guests in a fuzzy, welcoming warmth, mercifully providing short respite from a seemingly otherwise unforgiving, cold world outside. This is your place.

Somewhere, lost in the threads of our progressively deteriorating American culture, drinking has been reduced to an oft-repeated machismo parade of pushing through packed houses filled with blaring music in order to knock back a shot. Silly freshmen, drinking’s not for kids. Beers need to be nursed, loved and cradled, and for god’s sake, there should be some bloody conversation while you’re sipping your brew. This, after all, is the sport of pub drinking, and within this sport, Ashley’s is Wrigley Field.

Ashley’s tabletops, graced with the carved signatures of patrons who have come before you, now serve as a resting place for your best friends’ elbows. With your friends in close proximity, conversation — that lovely thing that goes hand-in-hand with alcoholic beverages — naturally happens. Maybe this is the reason Ashley’s, Ann Arbor’s bar of bars, is considered sacred ground.

Ashley’s, though, is not endeared by Ann Arborites and University students alike solely because of its homey environment. At Ashley’s, beers flow magically from seemingly infinite taps. Aside from the 70 draught beers normally available (including rare beers that can’t be found anywhere else in Michigan, like Schneider Aventinus, a wheat ale from Kelheim, Germany), there’s a rotating tap that brings limited specialty brews to the lips of those residing in Ann Arbor. Simply put, Ashley’s’ selection is unparalleled.

The formula, the one that has made it so renowned, is simple: provide people with a good place to drink good beers. While other establishments might have lost sight what makes a bar truly a bar, Ashley’s embraces these essential bare-bones principles. And that’s why we embrace Ashley’s.

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