Bill’s Beer Garden had an inaugural mini-season in the fall of 2012 and we successfully opened for our first full season in 2013. It will open for the 2014 season on March 14, the start of St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Bill’s Beer Garden will operate on select days throughout the spring and six days a week in the summer, typically from 5 pm to 11 pm. As Downtown Home & Garden
closes for the day and cars vacate the parking lot, the Beer Garden takes over. There are two open-air pavilions for seating, plus an enclosed serving pavilion. Additional seating and tables will be placed along the perimeter and scattered throughout the beer garden. Colored lights and greenery add to the festive and inviting ambiance.
The menu for Bill’s Beer Garden includes Michigan craft beer and wine. The initial beers on tap will include offerings from: Arbor Brewing Company, Bell’s, Dark Horse, Wolverine Brewing, Founders, Original Gravity and a handful of others. The wine list features a geographically diverse selection, carefully chosen for their compatibility with a range of foods.
Food can be brought into Bill’s Beer Garden from adjacent Mark’s Carts — a collection of eight food carts serving an eclectic mix of tasty, affordable and locally sourced food. Patrons can travel between the two areas through in a corridor bisecting Downtown Home & Garden.
Bill’s Beer Garden is a collaboration between Downtown Home & Garden owner Mark Hodesh and business associate Bill Zolkowski (for whom Bill’s Beer Garden is named). Zolkowski and Hodesh have a 40-year working relationship and friendship. In 1975, when Hodesh opened the Fleetwood Diner on Ashley Street – just across Liberty from the present Downtown Home & Garden — Zolkowski worked for him as a busboy/waiter. Zolkowski has his own history as a downtown business owner; in the early 1970s he opened import shop Baobob at 328 S. Main, above what’s now Prickly Pear Restaurant. Soon thereafter he moved his store into a remodeled space at Ashley and Washington where Sweetwaters now stands. For the last three years Zolkowski served as principal of the three high schools in the Plymouth-Canton educational system; he retired in June after 18 years in public education.
Bill’s Beer Garden, together with Downtown Home & Garden and Mark’s Carts, completes a trio of businesses on Ashley Street between Liberty and Washington that anchor the western edge of downtown Ann Arbor.