Bluegrass Night at the Circus
lines out the door, and it has intermittently expanded to Thursday nights as well. On any night, socializing is happening not just inside but outdoors, on the upstairs club's metal mesh staircase, and that's a sign of a healthy nightspot.
There's no cover charge, you can come as you are, and the importance of cheap beer in Bluegrass Night's success is not to be minimized. PBRs in a can are just $1.25, and beer at that price, along with a big crowd of people to talk to and flirt with over music of moderate volume, is hard to find in Ann Arbor. And the stimulating sound of banjos and mandolins rubs off to some extent on everyone in the room. The bands typically play two sets, and as the second one gets going young people crowd toward the stage and begin to move to the motor rhythms of the music.
Bluegrass Night has grown over the past year or so in a pleasingly organic way, and you never know what will happen on any given night. In between sets I've seen songwriter open-mike segments and, on one evening, burlesque dancers, clowns, and even a sword swallower.