R.I.P. Zanzibar

I am in serious mourning right now. Earlier tonight, one of my best friends from college (you might call him my partner in crime) sent me a g-talk message to deliver “urgent, terrible news.” It is with great sadness and regret I must announce, that Zanzibar, the pan South American bistro in Ann Arbor that hosts my absolute, #1, hands-down FAVORITE happy hour in the entire world is CLOSING — for EVER!!!!!

TO which I responded,

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You will always be open for happy hour in my heart, Zanzibar.

You see, Zanzibar is where I developed my refined palate for fine cocktails. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00 after my Philosophy of Science course, I would walk from down State Street, my mind spiraling with thoughts on demarcation criteria and evidence and predictive power, and I would collapse into my favorite booth, ready for one hour of beverage bliss. Never fail, my partner in crime would saunter in five minutes later with an expression of bored pretension and sit down across from me, ready to gossip about the dramatics of being editors at our college newspaper.

And then Julie would walk up and smile at me. She was tall and sultry with a no-nonsense attitude, and she took every one of my classic cocktail v-cards. She was my first gin martini, up, with blue cheese olives; my first side car with finely-ground cane sugar on the rim, of which I would lick every particle while my friend grimaced and told me I needed to get laid; my first Caipirinha, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge and Smoky Martini – which will kick your ass and make you feel like you could breath fire if you had a match. And best of all, Julie made me dozens of the most amazing mojitos in the world. They were swampy with mint, pieces of which I would carefully extract with two straws as if they were chopsticks and eat. No bartender in New York City has ever even come close to replicating Julie’s mojito to my liking but I present an open challange if any would like to try ;)

But the most amazing thing about Zanzibar’s happy hour was that ALL of the drinks on the menu were half off. It was none of this $15 a cocktail bullshit. They were $4 a piece, max. I can honestly say that if it was not for Zanzibar, I would probably still be drinking Vodka Redbull and Sex on the Beach.

After happy hour, my friend would stumble off to his 5:30 English course to critique documentaries and I would head to Edit Board and deliver choice opinionated remarks that would eventually be transformed into “The voice of the Daily”. Zanzibar was a place that transformed inspiration into influence. We always planned to go back there when we were in our ’30s and reminisce, but now we never will.

So you see what a true tragedy this is.

Rest in peace, Zanzibar. Every time I think of you, it will be happy hour in my heart.

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7 thoughts on “R.I.P. Zanzibar

  1. Arikia Post author

    Looks like a real estate mogul bought it up just like the rest of that block. link. The post is from 2005 but that’s probably because Zanzibar went out fighting.

    Reply
  2. a2veeness

    Z-bar told ME that they were “a victim of the economic downturn” when I tried to make a reservation for Monday…a true bummer!

    Reply
  3. heather

    can we start a petition/campaign to have zanzibar re-open at a smaller location? i understand that they could not afford a downsizing renovation, but what about a move someplace else? now that we all know they need our support!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: A lesson not so well learned « The Millikan Daily

  5. scribbler50

    Got the challenge but based on what you’ve described, your Julie would beat me hands frigging down. Plus I’d not just be battling her skills but all those fond memories. I appreciate you thinking of me though.

    And yes, Arikia, the closing of a good saloon (or restaurant) truly is an emotional loss. I’ve experienced quite a few closings during my time here in New York and it really is sad. For you not only lose a wonderful place… you lose the magic of all the people you met there. Real estate greed has ruined the character of this city!

    Reply

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