The Red Sea is a must for reggae fans and underground hip hop fans, and anybody else who is tired of upscale nightclubs.
The Red Sea is nestled into a strip of buildings on Cedar Avenue. They serve cheap, strong drinks, have pool tables, and a small dance floor with an elevated stage. Local hip hop acts perform here quite often, and they're almost always good. Call ahead for performances, or check the alternative weekly City Pages.
The only complaint I've heard about Red Sea is the lacking number of women. I can attest to this myself, in which case, I strongly recommend the Red Sea for those ladies who want to drink and dance, and have a preference for men of all hues who wouldn't be caught dead with a fruity drink.
To catch a cab here from downtown, expect to pay about $5. Otherwise, parking is behind the club.
Dress Code: Anything goes in here.
I went to Barfly on a Wednesday night so it was somewhat quiet, but I was very impressed with the interior - and somewhat surprised, as the Barfly used to actually be The Skyway, an old movie theater popular with those homeless folks who needed a place to sleep and urinate. Barfly owners have worked wonders in here though.
The front room is a bar area, quiet enough to talk comfortably. There are couches lining the wall to help facilitate those conversations. Follow the hallway next to the ATM machine and you'll find yourself outdoors in a nice smoking area complete with it's own heating source for those chillier nights.
There's a second, HUGE room inside Barfly where the dancing takes place. A DJ is elevated above the floor; there's another elevated section with couches, and the VIP section is tucked off to the side behind glass walls. There's another bar in this area, but best of all is this series of couches and stuffed tables that line the wall. They're large enough for a 7' foot man to completely spread out on, and remind me of that bed-in-a-club craze I read about in larger cities. They're not exactly beds in Barfly, but give me a pillow and I'll make them one.
Dress Code: Definitely dress to impress - jeans are okay for women (everything's okay for us ;-)
The venue appears to change on different nights, from techno to hip hop to Gay Night. Call ahead.
Blue Nile serves excellent African and Caribbean cuisine by day, and turns into a jumping two-floor club by night.
The main floor features reggae and Caribbean live bands. There are couches for lounging, a great bar with regularly priced drinks, and lots of little tables to be close to the stage. The crowd is generally mid 30's and up, mature and casual. On some nights, the main floor has comedy shows and open mic contests. Call ahead to find out the venue for the night. Weekend cover charges vary between $5 and $7.
The lower level is for the younger folks - generally they're playing either dancehall reggae or hard core hip hop. Down here has an underground feel; concrete walls and a no-frills bar. African women in wonderfully tight garb rotate under a disco ball. It's smoky and crowded, but there's plenty of tables and chairs for relaxing and watching the dance floor. Usually you can get into the lower level for no charge, but every so often you'll be charged anywhere from $5 to $10, depending on who's hosting the basement venue that evening. And yes, that does mean you are charged twice - once to get in the front door, and once to get into the basement. Honestly, on some nights it's not really worth it. See if you can get a peek into the basement before paying anything extra to get in.
Dress Code: Anything goes.
The Infiniti Room is a gorgeous lounge on the first floor of the Le Meridien hotel, downtown Minneapolis. The room is a long rectangle decorated in red and black asian eclectic. Couches are lined up against one wall and the other wall features the bar. The bartendars do tricks as they pour your drink - it's great to watch but it's really pricey because of it. Expect to pay upwards of $10 for a mixed drink.
The music is usually techno or old funk and R&B. The crowd is diverse - young people make out on the couches and older people flash wallets at the bar - but everyone looks sharp. If you're into a very high class style of lounging, this is your place. Even if you're not into that, it's worth a stop just to get a glimpse of the ritzier side of Minneapolis.
You might catch Minnesota sports stars in here from time to time. Dress to impress!
Great place to find out about over 350 bars, their specials, events, and local critiques. Rather than providing fluff, these reviews are accurate and updated regularily. Don't waste your night!
Dress Code: all
Located in Nordeast this has become a favorite amongst the young "punkish" crowds that are moving into the neighborhood. In other more established bars in Nordeast the scene is mix of old and new. This bar is primarily the newer generations that are moving into Nordeast.
If you don't have a tatoo or body piercings you are in the minority. Several of the staff and quite a few of the patrons have multiple, multiple tatoos and piercings. But don't let that fool you , the staff is very friendly and the patrons are fun and welcoming. Just keep an open mind.
They have inside seating and an outdoor "tiki' area when weather permits.
Dress Code: Anything goes. The more tatoos or piercings the better but is not a necessity.
The best nights to go to Tony Jaros is on Weds. nights during softball season. After beating each other up on the diamonds, teams head over to the bar and rivals become fast friends.
Tony Jaros is famous for there "Greenies". A vodka, green kool aid type drink. Goes down easy but be warned because after 2 or 3 they start sneaking up on you.
The bar is tiny. Just a rectangular bar with some booths on the side. But on Weds. nights, this place gets packed beyond capacity.
Dress Code: Any state of dress or "undress". ;)
Drink is a new club/bar on First avenue and 5th street in the Warehouse district of Downtown Minneapolis. It's popular afterwork spot and a very happening dancing, drinking place on weekend nights.
On Friday and Saturday nights it can get pretty packed. Upstairs is a VIP area, but you can only get access up there by running up a pretty hefty bar bill. Worth it if you a large group.
They have a dance floor and the music is popular dance mixes, hip-hop mostley.
Dress Code: Generally on the nicer side. No sneakers or gang style clothing.
One of my favorite hangouts if I'm just looking to "DRINK". One of my softball teams is sponsored by them and on Tues. and Weds. it's full of softball players.
Stop by the bar and say hello to the bartendresses, Carey and Sara. A very friendly Nordeast hangout. Wouldn't go in the daytime though, it's a bit of a diffrent crowd.
Dress Code: Yeah right!!! LOL
On a funny note, on weekends right around the time of bar closing First Avenue which runs next to Target center is often blocked off, or so congested with traffic you can´t get through anyhow... strangely the police will blast heavy metal and sometimes classical music as a supposed means of getting people to move out faster.
Great bar for thirty-somethings and the swank grad student set, in the middle of Dinkytown. Bizarre, dream-like decor; hodgepodge of furniture; 1950s & 60s glam. Interesting live music heard here: a mix of world, roots, and neo-eclectic bands on the calendar.
Dress Code: Minnesota nice
Kieran’s Irish pub has been established since 1994 and is host every Wednesday night to local artists to perform songs from the Emerald Isle.
Sunday to Saturday: 11.00 am to 2.00 am