Thursday, September 25, 2008

BTB Cantina

The Location: 1140 S. University (corner of South U. and Church)

The Facts:
Cantina opened it's doors last winter, after Upstairs at Charley's closed and was renovated. After several delays, BTB Cantina finally opened amongst much hype. It has much more of a lounge feel than a bar. There are several couches and tables arranged throughout. It is well lit, and generally not too loud. There are two dartboards and a shuffleboard table, along with a few video games. The bar serves standard BTB fare (burritoes, chips, etc.) as well as a wide assortment of tequila, margaritas, and Mexican beer (bottles only).  The tequila ranges from decently priced ($3) to YGBSM ($350). All tequilas can be had straight, tequila cruda, or in a margarita. BTB Cantina is open until 4am most (all?) nights. It's marketed as a stoner-getting-the-munchies hotspot with the slogan 'when you roll 'em... we roll 'em.'

Other Info: Cantina is rarely the only destination of it's patrons. From my observations most people stop in after going to another bar, to grab food and maybe one last drink, or as a short stop before going out to their final/next destination.

Probably the most hyped openings since I've been in Ann Arbor, BTB Cantina promised to be a combination of late-night-food and 'the next Charley's'. Well, consider me disappointed. While it's a very relaxed enviroment, it certainly lacks any real draw as a bar. The pitchers of margaritas are ok, but expensive for how much you get, tequila as your only liquor leads to upset stomachs and reluctant indulgence. My feelings regarding Mexican beer and how it is made are as follows:

Step 1.) Drink lots of tequila.
Step 2.) Urinate into jar.
Step 3.) Bottle contents of jar.

One of the few high points to BTB Cantina is the shuffleboard table. It is one of only two I know of in Ann Arbor. There often is someone playing it, but the wait is generally short. They also have a few nice dartboards, but the last time I was there (last week) the darts were damaged, so that's something to be aware of if you're looking for a place to play.

Though BTB Cantina is marketed to the 'stoner' crowd, I almost never see them there. Though I rarely stay past 3-ish, the plurality of Cantina patrons are college Greeks. It seems to take spill over from The Brown Jug, from what I can gather.

The redeeming quality of Cantina is going to it not at bar time. Going to Cantina with a laptop, using the wireless internet, and getting some work done with a margarita in hand seems like the best use of Cantina to me. It's fairly quiet, especially around 4pm, it's comfy (the couches rock) and food is within 25 feet. Other than that, it's a very sub-par bar/lounge. I give it two stars.

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