More than 4,000 years ago, the world’s first beer was brewed in Sumer, an area now better known as Mesopotamia. The deity those ancient brewers worshiped was Siris, goddess of beer; daughter of Ninkasi, the goddess of alcohol. In honor of that heritage, we have adopted Her name for our restaurant and cigar bar.
Like those ancient brewers we dug deep, by hand, to create Siris. Located at 207 N. Main St., we excavated many tons of soil, rocks, and yes, even actual boulders to excavate the space we needed. Now home to more than 120 draft beers, hundreds of bottles, a vast array of fine spirits, and the finest cigars, Siris offers a sensory experience you won’t find anywhere else in Ann Arbor.
Next time you’re standing downstairs, take a look at the wall and you’ll realize that your head is just about where the original soil floor was several years ago. The photo below was taken several months into excavation.
Not long before this, one had to duck their head to avoid hitting the ceiling, and the area was littered with small boulders. One of them was too big to remove. Ask your bartender if they know where we put it!
Why Did It Take So Long?
What’s a year of digging, after 4,000 years of humans making beer, right? It in fact took OVER a year to excavate our lower level. Why? We’re unfortunately located on a busy alley and Main Street, which made it impossible to bring in construction site sized equipment. The entire lower level was excavated by hand, by hard working fellows like this guy:
Getting to the Bottom of Things
Or “Rock Bottom”, as the lower level is unofficially known. Eventually we dug deep enough that we could build upward again, while still leaving you plenty of headroom!
Here’s the floor, finally poured and getting the finishing touches:
Raising The Bar
Literally. Creating our two fifty-foot long bars was no small chore, especially downstairs, where a perfect arc would have looked odd, and a shape that was too organic could’ve looked even stranger. We think we hit the right pitch, after a lot of nudging with our feet, and considerable debate:
At first glance, you may think the lower level bar is highly-varnished wood, but it is in fact a high tech concrete that requires considerable skill to pour and mold:
Three of the five Kouza brothers (Raymond, Joe, Rick) looking happy that maybe we’re halfway there:
And here’s Joe saying “Are you kidding me? We’re NEVER gonna finish this place!”
The Heart & Central Nervous Systems
You’ll notice when you dine at Siris that while you get occasional wafts of cigar aromas, you mostly don’t. That’s because the air system for the restaurant is the same size system you’d find on a 20,000 square foot market, and it changes out all the air in the building in less than 20 seconds! This is just one of the smoke eaters that feeds the larger system.
Managing 22 fifty-inch TV screens, 3 phone lines, internet, and a cutting-edge beer management & POS system requires a lot of wiring. It’s nice when your 70+ lines can be lumped into one!
People aren’t the only things smoking at Siris; our commitment to serving fine regional BBQ’s dictated that we get a top of the line Southern Pride smoker to smoke all our dishes in house!
There was a lot of finish work between those equipment installs and opening day, but we made it. Here brothers Joe and Ray watch as Ramis “cuts” the ribbon in a manner befitting a cigar bar – with fire!
207 N Main St Ann Arbor, MI 48104 (734) 263-1296
Siris is part of Ann Arbor's new “Uptown” district, on the North end of Main Street & Fourth Avenue. Next time you think about heading downtown, think about heading UPTOWN too!
For occasional notifications about special events or offers at Siris.