In tribute to the restaurant that served students and local residents for more than 50 years, and closed in 1984, a new Pretzel Bell is now open in the Ann Arbor area. Ringing in both fresh and familiar traditions, the next generation of sports fans is ready to watch their favorite teams compete in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor.
The original Pretzel Bell laid its foundation on a bed of tradition and nostalgia, incorporating a number of the iconic activities from the original restaurant, which was the go-to spot to celebrate 21st birthdays in Ann Arbor. Birthdays will continue to receive special treatment, with birthday boys and girls of all ages getting to ring the bell (yes – there is a real bell) and taking home a commemorative bell of their own. Twenty-first birthdays will be extra special as the guest-of-honor’s first beer is on the house served in pint glass that the guest can keep.
Another element that contributed significantly to original restaurant’s atmosphere was the guest-carved tabletops. Many proclamations of love, heartbreak, and Wolverine support were etched by patrons — one such table top now hangs at the new restaurant among memorabilia from the University of Michigan. The tables and booths at Pretzel Bell are already showing a lot of character!
New traditions are also being embraced. The lower-level of the restaurant, called the Cellar Bar, comprises of a full bar and numerous large-screen televisions. The Mystery Beer Machine is already a popular attraction for regulars. Staff randomly loads various cans of beer, from national economically-priced brands to coveted craft brews, into a machine kept behind the bar. For just $2.50, a guest can direct the bartender to press one of four buttons, and then receive a surprise 12-ounce can. If the beer is just not palatable, for one dollar more, the guest can make another attempt.
Also located in the Cellar Bar is the “FOULS” board where patrons can write the names of friends who commit party fouls, social gaffes, or just for general hilarity. Ask for a piece of chalk from the bartender and have fun!
Pretzel Bell’s main level is a more traditional restaurant dining room, open for lunch and dinner, and suitable for families and guests of all ages. The Cellar Bar opens at 3 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays — just in time to catch the pre-game shows!
When it comes to traditions, Ann Arbor is saturated with them. “P-Bell” traditions have lived on for decades as original patrons reminisced with friends or shared stories with a younger generation. With a personality all its own, today’s Pretzel Bell honors that enduring sense of community. We’ll meet you under the Bell.