You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

Bill's Beer Garden releases expanded 2013 schedule

By Jessica Webster


Bill's Beer Garden is located in the parking lot just south of Downtown Home & Garden, 210 S. Ashley.

Courtesy of Bill's Beer Garden

Bill’s Beer Garden has announced its 2013 schedule. The bar will be open weekend evenings in May and June, and will move to a 6-day-a-week schedule in July.

Beer lovers can get an early taste, however, when the bar opens for two strategic weekends earlier in the season: St. Patrick’s Day weekend in March and FestiFools weekend in April.

St. Patrick's Day weekend makes a lot of sense, of course, but FestiFools might surprise some. Bill's Beer Garden co-owner Bill Zolkowski, however, can barely contain his enthusiasm for the annual street festival of giant puppets.

"It has become such a huge event in this area. We want to become a participant in some way, maybe be a venue to host some artists," said Zolkowski in a phone interview. “I’d love for us to be a palette for something.”

Zolkowski explained that the posted schedule was conceived to make allowances for the busy spring season at Downtown Home and Garden — whose parking lot the bar occupies — and to take advantage of predicted weather. But if Ann Arbor gets an unexpectedly warm April, the beer garden won't stay dark.

"What we've stated on the schedule is just a minimum," said Zolkowksi. "If the weather is good, we'll pop up on other days too. We had good luck last season getting the word out using social media."

Zolkowski says the beer list has yet to be finalized, but a preliminary list of breweries has been released, including Arbor Brewing Co., Bell’s, Dark Horse, Wolverine Brewing, Founders, Original Gravity, Dragmonmead and New Holland.

"We're still trying to put together the final menu," said Zolkowski. "It all depends on what we can get in various sized barrels."

Bill's Beer Garden 2013 schedule:

  • March 15-17, 5 p.m. -11 p.m.
  • April 5-7, 5 p.m. -11 p.m.
  • May and June: every Thursday through Sunday, 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
  • July 4 through Sept. 30: Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.
  • October through early December: Thursday through Sunday 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Check out Bill's Beer Garden's website or Facebook page for more information.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Grocery section for Reach her at You also can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Way to go Bill! Keepin' Ann Arbor funky!


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

Yay! So excited to have this back! And to the commenter who said it's not a family place, I didn't find that to be true. I took my young kids last fall to meet a few friends and there were a handful of other families there. They sell root beer and Izze sodas, and the kids thought the fire pits were great. I wouldn't take them there after 8 or so, but it's actually a pretty good option for an after-work beer with friends.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

So, let me guess, this is for 21 and over crowd. Sounds like fun but not a family thing. I think I can opt out the college scene.


Sat, Feb 16, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

not true. I don't even drink beer and I'll be going! If my kids were little I'd bring them, it's a social event. More of a townie thing than college. Neighbors and co-workers are a family friendly crowd.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

You better walk "0.08 percent blood-alcohol content"

Proleptically Living

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 8:42 p.m.

It's nice to have a beer garden with long benches for those times you are with a large group. You can enjoy a quality brew and not have to worry about if there's enough room for your guests. This is another venue that makes this town a great place to entertain!