[ Del Rio] -- download vcard

Cooperatively run bar, now closed.

Hours: Closed.
Address: 122 West Washington
Handicap access:
Owner: Rick Burgess (1969)

The best bar of the '90s in Ann Arbor.

R.I.P. Del Rio.

The Del Rio was located at 122 West Washington, and closed on December 31 2003. There was a flurry of union organizing activity in the last months before it closed, but the tension between the workers running the del for over a decade and the newly invigorated management couldn't be reconcileded, sadly.

It remained vacant for a while before it was purchased by next-door Grizzly Peak as an extension.

It featured one of the best bar burgers ever served - the Det Burger. (Named for Detroit, or for the cook Bob Detweiler who invented it.). The Det Burger was cooked up in beer with green pepper, mushrooms, onions and black olives, all pizza ingredients readily at hand in the Del's kitchen. Heaven on a bun!

It was also a favorite hang for jazz record collectors, WCBN djs, poets, independent journalists, folks from the old (and more experimental) Performance Network, and other characters from Ann Arbor's art and activist scene throughout the late 80s and 90s.

Notable people of the Del Rio


In the news

Spoiler alert on the ending of Ernie Harburg's “Liberty, Equality, Consensus and All That Jazz at the Del Rio Bar” (Huron River Press): The bar goes dark in the first hours of 2004, closing the 35-year run of a truly original eatery, a landmark cultural institution and a brave business experiment.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ann Arbor morphed from a quiet, Republican university town to an epicenter of the “counterculture” and liberal-left politics. And the new Del Rio bar became the hangout for the newly Democratic City Council members; the anti-Vietnam-war activists, including the vocal Women’s Strike for Peace, and the SDS; black power activists, gays and lesbians, women’s libbers—a whole range of uppity youth—to strategize, booze and enjoy great jazz.

He purchased the Del Rio in 1969, and began free jazz at the popular hang-out every Sunday evening. In 1977, he and some partners opened The Earle across the street, where the Rick Burgess Trio performed for decades. (He selected his replacements, and the trio continues to perform there.)