Ann Arbor Weather:
Thursday January 23, 2020
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed

Townies Brewery

Table talk: November 2019

by Eve Silberman

From the November, 2019 issue

When is a mural not a mural? When it's a sign.

Dan and Patty Arban, the owners of Townies Brewery, learned the difference after a run-in with City Hall not long after they opened last year.

They'd announced their presence with a giant image of a glass of beer on their front wall facing Liberty.

Customers noticed--but so did "one of the other businesses," as Dan carefully describes it. The competitor complained to the city, which ordered them to remove it. The city wouldn't accept it as a mural, he explains, because it clearly promoted the brewery. And as a sign, it was too large.

The wall was bare for months before the Arbans came up with an image that passed muster: a giant reproduction of a 1940s-vintage Michigan tourist map. The brewery's website suggests customers take selfies of themselves pointing to their hometowns.

City planner Chris Cheng emails that they're now working on an updated sign ordinance that will reflect "sign and speech related case law, trends in the sign industry, best practices research, and discussions with city staff, the public, and sign consultants." The city website,, invites citizens to send in pictures of "signs that strike you as particularly creative" as well as those that are "distracting, bland, and ineffective."     (end of article)

[Originally published in November, 2019.]


Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Livingston Taylor
Esoteric in the best way
James M. Manheim
On Trend
The Baiz brothers open BeanBerry
Sabine Bickford
Fitting Vintage
The Getup adapts classic styles to 21st century figures.
Fionn Pooler
Restaurants with Delivery Available
A clickable zoomable map
CoreLife Eatery
Bowls the way you want them
M.B. Lewis
Epic Change
St. Joe's staffers await their new electronic health records system with anticipation and dread.
Cynthia Furlong Reynolds
Fragels Are Coming
Bagel Fragel aims for a year-end opening.
Sabine Bickford
Ann Arbor City Code
Narrow Win
Voters approved-barely-a $1 billion bond to rebuild the public schools.
Jim Leonard
Ed Nimby
Fake Ad: December 2019
Jay Forstner
semi e news
Washtenaw Families Against Narcotics