Valentine's Day // A2-Ypsi Guide

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. C and I only recently decided what our plans were for the special day. Because we don't really celebrate an anniversary, we try to make sure we do something special for Valentine's Day. C and I have lived in the Ann Arbor area for a few years now. Over the past few years we've done some exploring and discovered some amazing bars and restaurants in the area. I've pulled together three suggestions for crafting a great Valentine's celebration based on things C and I have done in the past. Obviously, not every town is like Ann Arbor, but some of these ideas could be adapted to fit your town.

// Downtown/Upscale ($$$)

Last year for Valentine's Day, C and I first headed to The Raven's Club to have a pre-show cocktail. Two trips to TRC are never the same because the drink menu, like the dinner menu, is always changing. TRC makes their own bitters and features classic cocktails with a new twist. I tried their Dark and Stormy one night, but am looking forward to ordering a Kentucky Mule next time C and I stop in.

After cocktails, C and I headed just down the street to The Ark to catch a show. There are lots of great places to catch live music in Ann Arbor. If the Ark is sold out, you can check out The Blind Pig or catch a movie at the State Theater.

To finish the evening, head up Liberty Street for a late dinner at Mani. Obviously everything at this Italian restaurant is amazing, but try the Tagliatelle for a taste of my favorite dish. The atmosphere and decor put me right back into my favorite little restaurant in Rome.

// Budget-Friendly Progressive Meal ($$)

One of our favorite ways to still go out while saving money is to have a progressive meal. We like to start at a brewery for a quick flight of samples. The Beer Grotto just opened an Ann Arbor location and might become our new favorite starting point. The Beer Grotto might be a small space just behind Main Street, but it sure packs in a lot of different beers!

From there, we usually wander up towards State Street, closer to the University of Michigan campus. We've come to love a small restaurant just across from the Diag called Red Hawk. They always have good beers on tap and their food is absolutely delicious. We love to order the Baked Goat Cheese appetizer and sit in the window while we people-watch.

For dessert, there's no place better than Arbor Brewing Company. It's right across the street from the parking garage where we typically park and has some amazing desserts. Obviously the beer is the focus here and the selection is pretty great. I love their Bollywood Blonde, while C prefers the Ypsi Gypsy. Settle in for some good music with a piece of cheesecake and you'll be set for the night.

// Low-Key Pizza and Brews ($)

For a more relaxed evening, C and I like to head down to Depot Town, a small artsy part of Ypsilanti across the river from downtown. Depot Town is so named because it is situated right around the Ypsilanti Train Depot that was opened in 1838. Unfortunately, there is no longer a train stop in Ypsi, but apparently there are talks of reviving the direct route into Detroit in the future. History lesson aside, we typically start with a beer at the Corner Brewery, which is actually now officially called the Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery. Here is where the magic, or rather the actual brewing, happens for ABC, mentioned above. In the summers, the garden patio is the place to be. But a decent menu and excellent brews will keep you coming year round.

After a pint or two, C and I will walk down to the main strip of Depot Town and head to Aubree's for some pizza. Let me tell you, this pizza will change your life. I recommend the Sicilian with the garlic crust. It's amazing and you'll definitely be back for more.

After Aubree's, C and I like to cross the street and hit up Sidetracks for a nightcap. Sidetracks is so named because it is literally right next to the train tracks that cut through Ypsilanti. Sitting on the patio in the summer can be an interesting experience, especially as trains roar through every so often. But Sidetracks amazing interior decor and excellent drinks make up for the noise. A rotating martini menu makes it a great place to try something new. If nothing suits my fancy, there's always a wide array of Michigan craft beers to sample.
Image from Wikimedia via Brian Cors.

C and I are opting for the ultimate budget-friendly Valentine's Day this year - cooking a three-course Italian meal together in our apartment and watching a movie on HBO (About Time) that we've both been dying to see. Do you have any plans to celebrate the holiday?

1 comment on "Valentine's Day // A2-Ypsi Guide"
  1. The number of breweries/alcohol places in this list makes me happy ;) You guys need to come visit and we will hit up all those in Btown!

    Eric always makes us Valentine's Day dinner (a pork/apple/coriander dish that is so good) and we drink it with chocolate wine. Some years we go out for dessert but he also gets me a bunch of chocolates that we wind up eating, so not sure what we're doing this year! Have fun cooking your meal (you should let us know how it goes!)!


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