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Posted on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

The Brown Jug in Ann Arbor makes list of top campus bars in U.S

By Ben Freed

The city of Ann Arbor is no stranger to “best of” lists, and one of its University of Michigan-area watering hole just landed itself on a list of the top college bars in America.

The Brown Jug on South University was named the No. 11 college campus bar by online culture guide Complex.


The Brown Jug has been open on South University since 1936, making it one of the oldest bars in Ann Arbor. file photo

Despite the high ranking, The Jug was only ranked as the fifth best college bar in the Big Ten, which had a strong showing at the top of the list. Duffy’s Tavern in Lincoln, Nebraska took top honors for the conference at No. 5, while Crunchy’s in East Lansing came right behind in sixth place.

The Brown Jug is named after the Little Brown Jug trophy that is awarded annually to the winner of the Michigan vs. Minnesota football game.

In its description, Complex cited the bar’s menu, where each item is named for a Wolverine legend, and the “sense of history” at the establishment opened in 1936. “This is a college football bar for a college football town,” it wrote.

The Brown Jug was also the No. 11 wholesale purchaser of alcohol in Washtenaw County in 2012 according to data from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The Jug's total in 2012 - $132,970 - represented an increase of 2 percent over 2011.

Campus bars Good Time Charley's, The Blue Leprechaun, Rick's American Cafe, and Scorekeeper's all topped the Jug in wholesale liquor purchases.

What's the number one campus bar in the U.S.? Complex says it's the Dixie Chicken, which serves Aggies at Texas A&M.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Reach out to Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 4:17 a.m.

I'm just not impressed with this choice.


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 2:58 a.m.

Congratulations to Perry, David and the whole crew!


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:10 p.m.

If they did Worst Bathroom Floor in the Big Ten it would be Rick's, no contest.

David Briegel

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

The words "campus bar" always make me think of the pungency of urine and vomit.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

Some people cannot hold their liquor, and those people belong at lower tier schools.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

Years ago, the campus bar had to have been west of Division

Paula Gardner

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

The words "campus bar" always make me think of Dooley's.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

Drooleys... Now Scorekeepers, new owner, same dusty ceiling.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

@Cole: Don't forget where you are posting. This is a discussion about Ann Arbor bars, not rival city cesspools.

Cole Bertsos

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

Or in my experience, the entire city of East Lansing.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

or village bell.....


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:19 p.m.

What are the qualifications to be considered a campus bar. I have been to crunchy's and brown jug. Their common traits are not what a bar should aspire to be . . . even if its a campus bar (Of course I do like buckets of beer . . . )

Kellie Woodhouse

Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:12 p.m.

Very interesting. The brown jug is the first bar I went to in Ann Arbor. I haven't been back since, but I think this acclaim will entice a second visit out of me. However, I am surprised the jug beat out Ashley's...


Wed, Apr 24, 2013 : 12:33 a.m.

As an Ann Arbor cabbie an Ashley's employee told me it isn't a college bar, or at least not a student bar. He said they've got a steady clientele all year and don't rely on the students that much.


Tue, Apr 23, 2013 : 8:18 p.m.

I suspect the Jug's beer prices are more college-like than those of Ashley's.