Eating / Drinking, Minneapolis
One of the joys of summer is lounging lakeside with a favorite boat drink, and this is a good place to do it. Bayside Grille is in the suburb of Excelsior - about 20 miles west of downtown - and right on Excelsior Bay of (very large) Lake Minnetonka. Excelsior is one of our metro lake communities that hasn't been 'McMansioned' to death yet, and it's just a great place to spend a lazy day or evening; look at my travel pages if interested.
The Grille is right behind Bayview Event Center: a venue for weddings, corporate events and chartered dinner cruises. Park in the gravel lot across the street and take the walkway on the left of the event center back to the large deck by the water. There's an outdoor bar and seating on the deck, and an indoor restaurant/bar as well. The menu runs to salads, sandwiches, appetizers, pizza and a few entrees and they're somewhat pricier than average. To be honest, we come here just for the bar but the food looks good and they do a brisk business. Friendly barstaff, live music on the weekends, relaxed vibe, and it's just fun to watch the boats.
Tip: If this one doesn't suit your fancy,Maynard's bar and restaurant is right next door. The crowd is a bit younger, menu prices are lower, and they have a great waterside deck as well. You can't park in Bayview's lot if you party elsewhere, and Maynard's can be really, really busy so you might have to valet your vehicle. See full Maynard's review on my Excelsior pages.
Dress Code: You'll see everything from wedding-party tuxes to cargo shorts; wear a shirt and shoes. Flip-flops are standard!
This rooftop bar was new in 2010 and quickly joined the ranks of best places high above the pavement to hang out in the sun. From the patio, you can soak up some rays with some bar eats and regular Happy Hours (3-6, Mondays - Friday). It's in the Uptown area; hop the glass SkyCar elevator outside Cafeteria restaurant to ascend to the clouds and one hip place to tilt a glass during the summer.
Wave to the people on the roof next door at Stella's (see previous tip).
See the website for hours, specials, menus, map and whatnot.
One note: "Minneapolis most beautiful view" has now been blocked by a new high-rise apartment building but you might have fun watching the (mostly buff) residents sunning on its terrace pool deck.
Dress Code: Shirt, shoes, shorts, sunglasses.
Another one of the great new “Nordeast” taprooms, you’ll be lifting your pints within view of their fermentation tanks. They have 4-6 of their craft beers on tap including a couple of in-and-out seasonals, and you can sip al fresco during the warmer months. It was crazy busy with happy pubcrawlers on the last afternoon we were there so it looks like the locals are giving it a big thumb up!
Need some eats to soak up the alcohol? Any one of a rotating schedule of gastrotrucks is parked right outside the door: yummy. Sampler flights and growlers-to-go are also available.
See the website for hours, tours and other good stuff, and check out Dangerous Man and Indeed Brewing while you’re in the area.
This is a hot spot because of a fabulous feature which allows cabin-fevered Minneapolites to catch some rays on even the most frigid of winter days. Union is is an upscale restaurant (with prices to match) with a classy bar and dining areas on the main floor and an enormous rooftop expansion with a 28-foot high retractable glass roof they claim to be the largest of its kind on the continent. Yep, it only takes a matter of minutes to transform the space from outdoor patio to indoor atrium to keep you and your beer warm, dry and happy.
Daily cocktail hours (vary - see the website) with special prices on beer, wine, a few signature cocktails and appetizers will make the plastic happy too.
Another little slice of taproom heaven, Indeed is also one of the nicer sippin’ rooms. Less garage-y and more cabin-casual, it has big windows, a patio and, yes, a revolving roster of food trucks for great bites along with your brews. Figure on roughly 4 small-batch beers on tap including their “everyday” pale and black ales plus a couple of seasonals and/or specialty recipes rotating in and out as available. Try ‘em all in 10, 16 or 20 oz pours, or pick up some bottles or cans to take along.
The taproom is open Thursday - Saturdays: see the website for hours and tour information.
Indeed is just a couple of blocks from 612 Brew and not even a mile east of Dangerous Man Brewing so the three of them together are a fun pub crawl on a sunny day!
I love this place: the best (possibly only) Tiki Bar in the Twin Cities. Located in what we fondly call "Nordeast," it's a bit off the beaten path but well worth the trip. The menu of rum-fueled, Tiki-glassed, aptly named libations - like Suffering Bastard and One-eyed Willy - and awesome patio are the primary reasons to go but the food ain't bad either. There's nothing like a basket of Suzi's beer-battered Red Rocket mini dogs or cheese curds with a cold brew or two. Or three. Soups, sandwiches and salads are on the menu too, and really good pizza. On Fridays and Saturdays there's the house band, Exotik-a-GoGo, and the clientele ranges from funky seniors to the seriously pierced. It's big with bikers, too. All are welcome; Suzi runs a tight ship and doesn't put up with attitude so relax and enjoy the vibe.
Check out the hilarious website: irreverence at its finest!
Dress Code: Are you kidding?
This is a great site to find out the best specials and happy hours in the Twin Cities. With over 350 bars made searchable in a friendly manner, up to the minute event updates, and descriptions by scenesters (not by the bars themselves) you are sure to get accurate and helpful information. Log on to
Dress Code: all
The Local on Nicollet mall is one of the most popular Irish pubs in Minneapolis. Situated in the heart of downtown Minneapolis The Local is a popular lunch, dinner and happy hour spot. Also on Saturdays and Sundays they show English Premier League games.
The menu is a mix Irish, English and American and yes they do have corned beef and cabbage.
Dress Code: No dress code, but on weekdays tends to be on the business casual side.
Weekends are a different story. Come wearing your favorite clubs colors.
Well, having lived here and Europe I can tell you that you will not be all that impressed by our nightlife. ALL of our bars MUST stop serving alchohol BEFORE 2 AM... this usually means last call is about 1:30... this is a new things though, as until just this year bar close was 1:00 AM... when a bar closes that means you must be done, or the bartender will take your drink and kick you out.. there's no use fighting it.
"note to Spaniards, don't even try to talk sense into them, or explain yourself, they don't care."
We have many many bars, one would think we were an alchoholic city. Drinks are generally pretty expensive unless you find a happy hour.
The area known as the Warehouse District downtown is full of trendy bars, with scantily clad college girls and the men who want them. There are some nice places, but many are like I mentioned. Uptown has several "meat market"
bars, such as Chino Latino, Tonic, Williams Pub, as well as some nice dive bars such as Rudolphs, Liquor Lyles, and the Uptown... don't go unless you want a crowd and a lot of hipters.
The Mall of America has an entire floor of bars, I've never been to any of them. There are little nieghborhood bars on nearly every block..
Dress Code: See what the rest are wearing.
After going to the Town Hall Brewery, my cousin Dan and I went to The Herkimer, a hip place in Uptown, which is an area just south of downtown that's packed with restaurants and bars. Their website claims that the place has a 1920s atmosphere, but it felt more upscale, trendy, urban to me.
I had a Daily Pils, obviously a pilsner style concoction that wasn't bad. We also had a big, delicious plate of sweet potato fries. Some of their other beers include Handy's Lager, Red Flyer Marzen, High Point Dunkel among many others. Check out their website for details.
My cousin Dan and I decided to have a boys night out on the Friday after Thanksgiving and we ended up at the Town Hall. It's a great local microbrewery located in the cool Seven Corners (near the U of M in Minneapolis). We had a couple appetizers and ordered the beer sampler and were surprised to see that it came with 8 beers each! All this for 7 dollars! Not bad. Granted the beers are not large pints, but you have to do at least 4 or 5 arm curls to knock one back and after we finished we were feeling it. The sampler included a nice variety of brews and the food was good too.
The interior is interesting with a bar on one side and the restaurant on the other side of the kitchen. By 11pm, when we left, the bar side was packed with young people.
Famous Dave's Barbeque and Blues
A rib joint that has grown across the country quite rapidly, the Uptown Minneapolis restaurant is unique n that it is also a live blues venue. Live music every night and pretty good food at a decent price makes this a great place.
Glueks Bar and Restaurant
German beer hall with their own beer served in liter mugs. Glueks also has awesome food.
We always meet here for a 'tall one' to get the night off to a good start. The place is always busy and noisy. On the weekend it is very difficult to even move so if you want a table, come early!
Dress Code: casual
This is a retro bar with Atari 2600, pool table, You Don't Know Jack on a big screen, darts, and various board games to play while chilling out to some great music. They serve a specialty beer called Catterbox Lager which is brewed by the Schell Brewery exclusively for Chatterbox (a few other beers available on tap and bottled). Also available are hoagies, gourmet bugers, and some fried foods that I hear are terrific but I have not tried them myself (yet).
Dress Code: very casual
Live polka music on the weekend! During the week, there is a college crowd with live local bands. They serve a large variety of German beers in liter mugs, boots, and yards.
Dress Code: typically the crowd is dressed up a bit more than usual for Minnesota which just means no tshirts or flannels here