College Guide 2011
Published: August 24, 2011
The Loft 4001 W. McNichols Rd., Detroit; 313-993-1616; udmdining.com: Although dining options inside the McNichols campus are slim, the Loft has you covered. This is the place to scarf down cheeseburgers and fries or grab an energy drink before your exam. The Loft (usually) has what you want. Philly cheese steaks and chicken strips seem to be the most popular items, but they do offer fresh wraps and salads, albeit pre-packaged, for the health-conscious co-ed.
Calling all couch
The Student Union 4001 W. McNichols, Detroit: The recently remodeled Student Union is the on-campus spot for heated ping-pong and billiard tournaments. It's also the place for socializing or vegging out in front of the flat-screens — and the couches are great for between-class naps.
U of D Coney Island 16126 Livernois Ave, Detroit; 313-862-0160: The family-owned U of D Coney offers all of the tried and true favorites at prices that suit the student budget. Located directly off campus and open until midnight, it's good for late eats.
RJ's Pub 288 E. Tienken St., Rochester Hills; 248-652-9550: Trying to get drunk on couch change? Designate a driver and head to RJ's, a friendly dive that offers first-class bar food, plus fresh pies from Sir Pizza next door. You'll never find a line out the door, but watch out, it's always packed for Red Wings games.
Caribou Coffee 3224 Walton St., Rochester Hills; 248-375-2360; cariboucoffee.com: Caribou is one of the few spots within walking distance of campus where students can hang out, study and enjoy free Wi-Fi and local music. Bring your textbooks, because a correct answer to the daily trivia question will save you 10 cents.
This old house
Meadow Brook Hall & Gardens Adams at Walton, Rochester; 248-364-6200; oakland.edu/mbh: Everyone in the Detroit area should visit the historic 110-room residence of Matilda Dodge Wilson at least once. And shame on you if you're on campus and miss out. Tours run year-round, featuring the sprawling gardens in the summer months and brightened by elaborate Christmas decorations through the holidays. Best of all, tours are free to OU students with identification.
Club Sports oakland.edu/campusrec: From rock-climbing and rugby to Aiki Kai, medieval Japanese martial arts, to synchronized skating, OU's club sports roster has something to offer everyone looking for a low-stress way to get involved and keep fit. If group sports aren't your thing, visit the rec center or aquatics center to find a routine that's right for you.
Hella happy hour
The Hills Bar & Grille 6810 N. Rochester, Rochester Hills; 248-652-4455; thehillsbar.com: With one of the busiest happy hours in the area, the Hills Bar & Grille offers drink deals every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m., featuring $3 mixed drinks, wine and sangria, and $2.50 draft pints. Sunday brunch is served 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features $5 Bloody Marys, plus killer egg specials served 8 to 10 a.m. — if you can drag your ass out of bed. Enjoy the outdoor patio if the sun is shining or the indoor mezzanine if it's not.
The Village 104 N. Adams St., Rochester Hills; 248-375-9451; villageofrochesterhills.com: The winding pathways of this shopping center contain a Gap, Banana Republic and J. Crew if you're shopping for back-to-school basics or business-appropriate job interview gear. You'll also find cheap eats at Kabob Grill, a Starbucks, healthy groceries at Whole Foods and more.
Coyote Joe's 49440 Ryan Road, Shelby Twp.; 586-254-3743; coyotejoes.com: Grizzlies come out to Coyote Joe's in droves, especially for ladies' night on Thursdays. The mechanical bull, country music DJs and the jean-shorted gyrating of "Joe's Girls" make it worth the 20-minute drive from campus.
Refresh your mind
The Paint Creek Trail paintcreektrail.org: Get back to nature by walking or biking the Paint Creek Trail. The 8.9-mile-long trail winds through five different communities and wanders by various historical sites, scenic natural areas and even a cider mill for an extra dose of quaintness.
Points West: Eastern Michigan University, Washtenaw Community College, Concordia University
Aged to perfection
Theo's Bar 705 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-485-6720; theosbar.com: Located next to Eastern Michigan University's central campus, Theo's is the oldest bar in Ypsilanti, and has been a favorite among the EMU community since it opened in 1980. In addition to great bar food and reasonable drink prices, there are such nightly events as trivia and Latin Salsa Night. Theo's also caters to EMU's Greek scene with weekly Greek Nights and private fraternity and sorority events.
Roasted just for you
The Ugly Mug Café and Roastery 317 W. Cross Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-484-4684; uglymugcafeandroastery.com: The Ugly Mug takes its cup of joe very seriously. The shop employs an in-house coffee roaster who works obsessively to bring the best coffee to Ypsilanti by studying everything from the dry and wet aromas of different beans to the seasonality of coffee farms around the world. For students, the Ugly Mug is the perfect place for some hardcore, caffeine-fueled study sessions.
Coffee and CCs
Café Racer 10 Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-879-1201; caferacerypsi.com: Imagine a hybrid small-town coffee shop crossed with reality TV's American Chopper and you kind of have Café Racer — only café racer bikes are undoubtedly cooler than choppers. The shop services vintage and contemporary motorcycles, treating each one as a unique work of art. Even if you don't own a bike, it's worth visiting the café for a cup of local coffee and a chance to admire some tricked-out racers. Just one of Depot Town's hidden gems.
Depot Town Tattoo 33 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-544-1297; depottowntattoo.com: For many incoming freshmen, the initial college experience is all about exploring newfound independence from overly protective parents. What better way to do this than with some ink? The tattoo artists at Depot Town will translate any idea or image into a unique tattoo. You don't need an appointment at this shop either. Walk-ins are welcome, so stop stalling and go get that tramp stamp Daddy will be sure to hate. Also, it's a proven fact that if you get your own name tattooed on your body, you are 90 percent more likely to fail at life.
A different kind of hazing
3rd Coast Compassion Center 19 N. Hamilton St., Ypsilanti; 734-487-5402: College can be a challenging place — physically, mentally and otherwise. There are myriad ways your family doctor would like to treat you for your ailments — most require big biz pharmaceutics. But if that sports injury left over from high school is haunting your bones and muscles, if that cafeteria food activates your GERD, or your neck hasn't felt right since your dorm room days, 3rd Coast Compassion Center is here to help with some serious medical relief in the form of quality cannabis.
Corner Brewery 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; 734-480-2739; cornerbrewery.com: Love this li'l tidbit from their website: "The Corner is sort of like a reverse mullet — with the party in the front and business in the back." Too true! The brewery produces and bottles Arbor Brewing Company brand beers, and cycles through more than 25 types of on-tap brews, from Bavarian Bliss Hefeweizen to Espresso Love Breakfast Stout to Red Snapper Amber Ale. Look out for their half of the Dark Horse Brewing Company collaboration "The Dark Corner." As for the microbrewery's menu, it's all about what goes best with brew: pizzas, burgers, brats and snacks.
Nurtured by nature
Riverside Park 515 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-7272; cityofypsilanti.com: This public park is an ideal place for walks, naps, stoned Frisbee and public displays of affection — or semi-public displays, if you remembered to bring a blanket. The 13.4-acre plot of land — located alongside the Huron River — is one of the few spots where you can get a taste of real tranquility. Linking downtown Ypsi and Depot Town, the park hosts some of the city's biggest events throughout the year, including the Heritage Festival, ElvisFest and the Michigan Summer Beer Festival.
Tower Inn 701 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti; 734-487-2650 (restaurant), 734-487-4000 (delivery); towerinncafe.com: This small Greek and Italian restaurant is in the heart of EMU's campus, and serves up everything from appetizers such as calamari and kasseri "Saganaki Opa" cheese to gourmet pizza and burgers, with the latter toting names like "The Mafia Boss" or "The FBI" burger. Stop in for lunch or have it delivered, and if you're looking for a late night beer or casual glass of wine — soaked up by surprisingly great bar food — Tower Inn will be your campus food destination.
Doughnut for dollars
Dom's Bakery 1305 Washtenaw Rd., Ypsilanti; 734-485-3175: Let's face it — we all love doughnuts. Whether you eat them in the morning or as a gluttonous break in between study sessions, Dom's bakery is the spot for fresh, homemade doughnuts around the clock in Ypsilanti. Not only are these fried fritters of joy delicious, but you can get them drive-through style and as late as 2 a.m. Fans of Dom's know that if you walk in with $20, you will probably have some change left over ... even after buying two-dozen items. Careful though: The bakery accepts cash only.
University of Michigan
123 acres of nature
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum 1800 N. Dixboro and 1600 Washington Heights, respectively, Ann Arbor; 734-647-7600; lsa.umich.edu/mbg: You'll find some refuge from bustling Ann Arbor and stuffy classrooms at the botanical gardens and arboretum. Bring your binoculars for bird-watching or a Frisbee for a game of "Ultimate." Don't forget to refer to the website to find out what flowers are in bloom. But the best thing about "The Arb" is finding your own quiet corner for outdoor study and soaking up the natural beauty.
Don't forget the D
in tony A2
The Detroit Partnership 4219 Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-719-0250; thedp.org: In addition to the Semester in Detroit program, this student-run service-learning organization has been building relationships between U-M students and the city of Detroit for 10 years. Working with more than 30 schools, churches and nonprofits throughout the year, the partnership consists of native Detroiters and students from out of town who are getting to know the local community by serving urban organizations. Combined opportunities for education and reflection make these experiences meaningful for students in Ann Arbor and partners in Detroit.
A half-century of
Ann Arbor Film Festival 308 1/2 S. State St., Suite 22, Ann Arbor; 734-995-5356; aafilmfest.org: The longest-running independent and experimental film festival in North America is now accepting admissions for the fest next spring! Just a warning, your film better be more than a little idiosyncratic. While you're working on your masterpiece, join the AAFF for screenings at the Michigan Theater at a nice discount. And if you want to check out the competition, AAFF is launching a five-part retrospective to celebrate its 50th year. The first installment is Sept. 22, at the Michigan Theater, and it includes a feminist flick that caused a riot back in 1973.
The Getup 215 S. State St., Ann Arbor; 734-327-4300; thegetup.com: The Getup has been U-M students' favorite destination for reasonably priced vintage apparel and accessories since it opened in 2005. It's independently owned and operated by collectors Paul and Kelly MacLeod, both fascinated by fashions of days gone by. Here you'll find an eclectic gathering of pre-1980s styles, which may include concert T's, immaculate Izod sweaters, turquoise cowboy boots, and any variety of retro-fabulous jewelry that floats your boat.
Sic Transit Cycles 1033 Broadway, Ann Arbor; 734-327-6900; sictransitcycles.com: If craftsmanship, individuality and the joy of the ride are what you're looking for in a bicycle, check out offerings at Sic. These guys repair bikes of all shapes and sizes, restore vintage styles, and consult on build projects. Build your own bike with an old Schwinn frame, or cruise around campus on one of their refurbished beauties or more eclectic offerings. Sic also buys used bicycles and gear all the time, if you're saving up for your next project.
A curatorial twist
The Gallery Project 215 S. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-997-7012; thegalleryproject.com: The Gallery Project selects nine themed contemporary art exhibits each year. One past theme, called "Unhooked from Time," brought together local artists to show "how we have artificially hooked ourselves to linear digital time." Interestingly, curators show their work in the 2,000-square-foot space alongside the artists they've selected, blurring the line between the two. Check out the exhibits running near the beginning of the semester, called "Imagined Communities" and "Subjective World (UMVELT)."
Ann Arbor's dive
The Blind Pig & 8 Ball Saloon 208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555; blindpigmusic.com: As far as dive bars and rock clubs go, this is A2's walloping one-two punch. The famed Pig has played and will continue to play home to some of the best acts coming through Michigan. The list of bands to play the Pig reads like a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction: Hendrix, Lennon, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Iggy and the MC5. Coming up are shows by the Hard Lessons, Secret Twins, School of Seven Bells, Pharoahe Monch, Ra Ra Riot and the Meat Puppets. Downstairs, the 8 Ball Saloon has cheap drinks, $2 pool and low lighting, and $1 PBR every Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. (Hippies use side door.)
Strings and things
Herb David Guitar Studio 302 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor; 734-665-8001; herbdavidguitarstudio.com: Rock stars know where the best music shops are, and if it's good enough for Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore or the White Stripes' Jack White, you can probably trust living legend Herb David. The shop has been around since the late '60s, and if you're in need of a small tweak on your six-string or just want to peruse some top-of-the-line instruments, this is the place.
The secret's out
Babs' Underground Lounge 213 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor; 734-997-0800; babsundergroundlounge.com: With its upscale speakeasy feel, Babs' Underground Lounge describes itself as one of the best-kept secrets in Ann Arbor. Along with a cigar bar and high-end martini and scotch selections, they also have pool tables and (had) the only film-strip photo booth in the city. If a Tuesday study break beckons, hit up a movie night special with free pool, $2 White Owl Blunts and a $4 40-ouncers of PBR, Old E or High Life. Keepin' it classy, Ann Arbor.
Everybody say, 'Party!'
Necto Nightclub 516 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-5835; necto.com: If you're looking for dance party five days a week, Necto could be the spot for you. With two floors of grind space and four different theme nights — Factory Mondays bring industrial and synth, College Thursdays boast recession-friendly drinks, Pride Fridays play home to their infamously epic "Gay Night," and Saturday's Frequency night is Top 40 fun — you can bump your rump all week and sweat off all that Pizza House pie.
People's Food Co-op 216 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-994-9174; peoplesfood.coop: Born out of day trips to Detroit's Eastern Market in 1971, the People's Food Co-op still maintains a commitment to locally grown, organic food. The goal is contributing to protection of the environment through sustainability. If you're looking to eat right and stay green, a food co-op can be a convenient choice. Though not the cheapest option, you certainly get what you pay for here. A membership not only is a commitment to the same ideals of the PFC, but helps defray some of the cost.
Embrace your inner nerd
Vault of Midnight 219 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-998-1413; vaultofmidnight.com: This famed Main Street comic book shop was awarded the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award by the 41st Comic-Con. Anyone who's entered the Vault knows how transcendent an experience it can be. Comics, games, toys, statues, cards — they have it all. If you're looking to bulk up your Marvel or flirt with KidRobot, enter the Vault. If only textbooks were illustrated like this, eh?
Sam's Clothing Store 207 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-8611; samsbasicclothes.com: The most reasonably priced non-used clothing store in Ann Arbor, Sam's is a self-described utilitarian outfitter. Though it adheres to the practical sensibilities of its shoppers, there is plenty of hip apparel as well, including a wide variety fedoras and Converse shoes. Plus, it's always cool to support this locally owned, unpretentious shop. It also has the best selection of wool socks anywhere. A couple pairs are a necessity for Ann Arbor winters.
Nectar of the gods
Café Ambrosia 326 Maynard St., Ann Arbor; 734-929-9979: At times of extreme fatigue brought on by all-night cramming, a coffee from Ambrosia might feel like a drink worthy of the gods. No guarantees about immortality. This café compares very favorably to Starbucks. The coffee is cheaper, their tea is made from a great selection of fresh, loose leaves, and the music is a huge improvement from whatever generic XM station is playing. Ambrosia also has a smattering of daily papers and chessboards!
Special thanks to our editorial interns Dylan Lawrence, Ally Levise and Ben Solis for their assistance with these listings.
For more listings on student-friendly restaurants, see this week's Short Order section.
Have some suggested additions for your campus area for College Guide 2012? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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