Brillig Dry Bar, Ann Arbor, Michigan

There’s a cool new pop-up in Ann Arbor called, Brillig Dry Bar. It’s a fun after-hours venue inside of Mighty Good Coffee on Main Street. There’s live music, candlelit tables, a fun staff, good eats and tasty drinks. It’s become a popular hangout for locals and students in the short time it’s been in operation, with lines out the door most nights. What might surprise you as that there’s no alcohol served, but instead you’ll find lively inventive craft mocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages.

Brillig had a trial run during Ann Arbor’s Midnight Madness in December. It went well and has picked up speed since. Currently, they’re not open every night (or weekend), but they recently said they plan to consistently open every other Saturday night, so check their website for times and dates.

My husband, Josh, and I visited this past Saturday after a quick dinner downtown. I am a lightweight drinker, and usually one glass is enough, so I was happy to have a fun new place to try that wasn’t centered around alcohol. They opened at 7pm, an hour after the coffee shop closed for the day, and we arrived about 7:30 with only short wait to get to the counter. The tables were already filling up, so I was glad to have arrived early!

The drink menu included a few of their standard mocktails from past weeks, including a Boston Egg Cream and Pomegranate-Rosemary Soda, which we were the ones we tried. They also had a couple of tropical-themed drinks this weekend.

Brillig’s also has several snack trays to choose from, a cheese and fruit tray, meat and mustard board and a cookie sampler. I couldn’t resist a sweet trio, so I added dessert to our order as well.

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Josh had the egg cream which, funny enough, has neither egg or cream. Its’ a fun fountain drink that is essentially a fancy chocolate milk with seltzer water added. I had the Pomegranate-Rosemary Soda, with a rosemary simple syrup, pomegranate juice, seltzer and a sprig of rosemary. It was fun watching the staff make our drinks to order. You could see the care used with the ingredients. I loved that our mocktails were served in actual bar glasses, the egg cream even had a fun red and white striped straw!

We took our cookies and drinks into the room across from the ‘bar’, where the live jazz musicians were playing. It was amazing to see how much the coffee shop space had been transformed in less than an hour of its closing time! There were lovely strings of white lights softly illuminating the low-lit space, votive candles covered with glass hurricanes on the tables and a sweet little slip of paper under each with a typed inspiration for the evening. It was romantic and sophisticated without being cheesy.

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I took a sip of my soda and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was light, refreshing and not-too sweet. The rosemary simple syrup added an interesting complexity, but be warned, if you’re not a big fan of rosemary this may not be the drink for you as it’s not a subtle flavor. Luckily I am, so I thought it was great! Josh also enjoyed his egg cream. He described it as a fizzy chocolate milk, which it essentially is.  I had a taste and liked it too.

The sampler tray included a macadamia nut, chocolate cherry and oatmeal raisin cookie. Each cookie was yummy, though the chocolate cherry was probably our favorite.

I love having an alternative spot to go after dinner on a weekend evening, even if it’s only every so often. They switch up the theme, music, and introduce a variety of new drinks based on feedback from customers. I look forward to our next visit and trying something new!