New Ann Arbor Dry Bar Offers A Twist On Classic Beverages

By Noelle Sciarini on January 22nd, 2015 / Comments

Do you want something a bit “dryer” to drink? Look no further than Brillig Dry Bar in Ann Arbor. This brand-new venture is just a couple months old, but it’s already creating quite a buzz within the community.

It all started when Nic Sims, one of the owners of Mighty Good Coffee, was brainstorming ways to leverage the cafe space more.

“I had read about dry bars popping up in England a year or so ago, and thought it was a brilliant idea,” Sims said. “We did a test run on December 5th, and it was overwhelmingly endorsed!”

A crowd of people, including teenagers, pregnant women and other sober individuals, partook in dry “inventive alternatives” that first evening. It immediately became evident to Sims and her family that there was a market for this type of event.

“The combination of being a part of the recovery community, wanting a new creative outlet, and being compelled to do something to create a space for non-drinkers (especially young people as I have two teens) all served as the fuel for the spark,” Sims said.

Plans are in place to offer a rotating menu of drinks and snacks in order to take advantage of different flavors and different facets of the Sims’ family story.

“I’m from Brooklyn, so it made sense to have a Brooklyn Egg Cream on the menu, coupled with a Vernors Cranberry Sour as a nod to living here for 20 years,” Sims said.

Instead of looking into other venues for offering these alternative options, Sims and her family also plan to keep Brillig Dry Bar part of the already established Mighty Good Coffee, running the cafe during the week and offering drink events on weekends.

“People are so completely joyful and excited to be a part of it [Brillig Dry Bar],” Sims said. “I think an ongoing challenge will be growing at a pace that we can support and still meets the need of the customers with the right staffing level.”

Sims and her family are also looking into ideas for different themes and specialty events. So far this has included a jazz house band overseen by Lenny Swanson, but Sims said they want to eventually offer everything from other local, original music talent to drag queen bingo.

“I will be listening, modifying, planning and testing every step of the way,” Sims said. “It’s up to the customers to let us know what they need — whatever that ends up being, I’ll be happy to make it happen!”

The next Brillig Dry Bar event is January 24th. For more information about future dates, please visit their website or find them on Facebook.

About the Author

Noelle Sciarini

Noelle Sciarini is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. Now an Ann Arbor resident, she fills her spare time with reading, writing, and the occasional road race. Find her on Twitter: @NoelleSci.