Ann Arbor natives Dave Fichera and Steve Kleinschmidt attended elementary, middle, and high school together at Eberwhite, Slauson, and Pioneer. They stayed in touch while Dave and his brother Chris built Stucchi’s ice cream and Steve ran the family business, Kleinschmidt Insurance. But when the two would get together for drinks, Fichera says, “We would talk about how great it would be to have our own spot for good food, music, sports.”

Now they do: in September they opened The Session Room on Jackson Rd. Boasting 7,000 square feet of space (plus a beer garden out back), the bar has several televisions for watching sports, the front part is set up to host live music, and seventy taps dispense a dozen craft IPAs–plus everything from Vander Mill apple raspberry cider to Frankenmuth Oktoberfest to Salt Springs Cocoa Joe oatmeal stout to Unity Vibration bourbon peach kombucha. The Ficheras sold Stucchi’s in the early 2000s; most recently, Dave says, “I was going through the ‘mister mom’ thing for three and a half years.” Now his son Benjamin is a first grader at Bryant, and Fichera says that both he and Kleinschmidt are “fully engaged” in the Session Room: “We Frick and Frack a little at night, but we’re both here during the days.”

The location is close to the Quality 16 theater and shopping centers, but the real draw for the partners was the onetime machine shop itself. “For us, it was this building or bust. We didn’t just want another ordinary restaurant,” he says. “The old brick and industrial feel of this place drew us, and we knew it would draw others.” It was most recently a warehouse for Eat Local Eat Natural, and ELEN cofounder Bill Taylor “worked with us to lease it for now. Eventually we will buy the building.” In turn, the Session Room buys burger, ribeye steaks, and chicken from Taylor’s local foods company. There were lines out the door during the opening weekend, and more good times are on tap. “Now that we’ve built a reputation as a go-to west side Ann Arbor food and beer destination, we want to live up to the rest of our name,” says events and marketing coordinator Cole Bednarski. “Live music is on the calendar to begin at the end of October and continue on a weekly basis. We also have monthly beer dinners–our October beer dinner features Founders [Brewing Company, of Grand Rapids] and their famed Kentucky Breakfast Stout.”

The Session Room, 3685 Jackson Rd., 585-7300. Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 12:30 p.m.-10 p.m. Closed Mon.