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.
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". ;)
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
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.
This bar sells the highest volume of Jameson Irish Whisky in the world. Really.
The Local is one of Kieran Folliard's four Twin Cities Irish pubs and I love them all for different reasons. What Kieran does best is make you comfortable and this spot provides a lot of snug little corners to curl up in with a pint of Guiness and good company. Check out the website for better photos than mine:
This is a beautifully crafted pub with two different bar rooms, a poolroom upstairs, a club-like Whiskey Lounge, outdoor seating in the summer and separate spaces for groups and events. There's even a room for canoodling with your sweet colleen. Oh, and they have very good food that's a step up from normal "pub grub." Appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads and main courses create a well-rounded menu that's a tad pricier than other local pubs but this is a nicer place, too.
There's international sport on the tellys but most people come here just to hang out and enjoy the ambiance. It's very popular (and packed!) at the 5:00 hour, and great fun on St. Patrick's Day when the Jameson is flowing!
Happy hours Monday - Friday, 11 - 6:00.
Open 7 days a week: see website for hours.
Dress Code: Anything but really grubby clothes. Neat and clean and you'll be fine.
Patio bars are virtually non-existent in Minnesota from November - April but here’s an exception. Eden, in the Le Méridien Chambers hotel courtyard, stretches the outdoor cocktail season with a bar built of 12,000 pounds of ice and an open fire pit kept blazing on dark winter nights. Fur-hatted maidens will cheerfully whip you up a bracing Grey Goose vodka libation from a list of half a dozen or so on the menu ($8 - $10), and there’s obviously no problem keeping them nicely chilled until the last drop has been sucked down - although you can order up some flavored vodka shots in ice glasses if you’re worried.
The hotel’s website is maddeningly ambiguous about the hours but figure roughly 7:00 - 11:00 on Thursday - Sunday nights: I’d call ahead just to be sure. And if temps are in the stupid-below-zero range or a blizzard is beating the crap out of downtown, even hearty Minneapolites aren’t (usually) crazy enough to tip martinis outside so don’t assume they’re crazy enough to be shaking them up.
The bar usually opens sometime in December and closes sometime in March.
Dress Code: Parka, UGGs, mittens, scarf
(See my review on the W's other bar, Living Room, on the lobby level.)
This is the Minneapolis' most iconic landmark with a seedy little bit of history besides. Wilbur Foshay built his art-deco tribute to the Washington Monument in 1929 and it was the tallest building in the city until 1971. Old Willy had made himself a tidy little fortune in utilities business and spared no expense outfitting his 32-story tower in rare woods, gold-plated doorknobs and fancy imported marble. When it was all finished he threw a huge 3-day, all-expense-paid bash for 25,000 people and even hired the March King, John Philip Sousa, to compose and perform a smart little number for the affair. Everyone was very impressed and Mr. Foshay was about as smug as a Midwesterner is allowed to be...for about six weeks. His empire came crashing down with the stock market, the 20-grand check to Mr. Sousa bounced, and Wilbur ended up in Leavenworth for some interesting accounting he couldn’t, er, exactly account for.
The Foshay is now the W Minneapolis hotel and you can have a cocktail in what was Wilbur’s private office and posh apartment on the 27th floor. While Prohibition, named for the era of speakeasies and bootlegging in which the tower was built, is a not-exactly-harmonious mix of dignified mahogany, art deco detailing, hot pink lighting and “atmospheric" music (What, no 1920’s jazz?) the 360-degree views are impressive, and cozy seating arrangements make for comfortable, intimate imbibing. Best time to go is at the opening hour on a winter afternoon: grab a table by one of the windows to watch dusk fall and the lights come on in the city. This is also the best time to take advantage of daily happy-hour drink and appetizer specials (5:00 - 7:00) as both are upscale-bar pricey otherwise.
Entry is via the gorgeous, original nickel and brass-plated elevators near the reception desk in the W’s lobby. One word of caution: most of the individual lounge areas that ring the space are very dimly lit so vision problems could make navigating around them a bit of a challenge.
Footnote: the march Mr. Sousa penned for the tower's dedication was mothballed until that rubber check was finally paid; 60 years later.
Dress Code: No dress code but folks tend to be more slicked up than not for this one.
This was the very first of the craft-brew taprooms to open in Minneapolis and it's going great guns. Started by 4 thirsty guys cooking up 10-gallon batches in a South Minneapolis garage, they moved on to contract brewing in 2009, and finally opened their own operation in 2012. Yep, it’s still in a garage but one of warehouse proportions with the taproom off to one side.
The “decor” (if you can call it that) is minimal keg-and-concrete but no one cares: it’s all about the beer, folks. They don't mess around with food either but any one of the Twin Cities' fabulous gastrotrucks are parked outside on a rotating schedule, or you can order in from some of the nearby restaurants: ask for menus at the counter. Pints run $5, and 1/2 gallon, take-home growlers run about $13 (deposit required) at time of this writing.
Lonely Blonde (light/fizzy) and Sweet Child of Vine (IPA: a favorite of The Husband’s) are on tap all year but others rotate seasonally so the taps with Libertine Imperial Red and Worthy Adversary Russian Imperial Stout on them right now (March) will change over in the spring. They also serve up a few weeks here and there of “Garage Series” limited edition batches.
Fulton is located just a couple blocks north of Target Field and they’re open Thursdays and Fridays from 3-10, Saturdays from noon -10, and before the game when the Twins play in town: see the schedule on the website. No outdoor patio yet but we’re hoping to be able to lift an arm on the loading dock this summer. Tours available, and get yourself some gear to take home.
Dress Code: Shirt, shoes, ID...
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 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.
(See my review on the W’s other bar, Prohibition, on the 27th floor, and a little history about the tower.)
Living Room is the W Minneapolis hotel’s hip, spacious lobby-level bar; popular early in the evening with after-business and before-event groups, and couples who like to chat without screaming over the din in some other downtown bars. I haven’t been here later at night when the DJ starts in with decibel-annoying techno and the place is packed with slinky, mate-seeking singles: not my thing. No, this is a nice spot for a warm-up martini before heading out for the evening, and scatterings of comfortable seating areas accommodate traveling suits with free wifi for catching up with work over a cocktail. Nice fireplace, too.
Best bet: kick back in one of the big chairs for Happy Hour (5:00 - 7:00) reduced drink and appetizers specials. It's quieter, more relaxed, and you’ll do a lot less damage to the plastic.
Dress Code: No dress code but the later the hour the more spiffed up you'll want to be.
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!
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.
If you like alternative rock, these are the 3 best places to see it...
This place is more mainstream rock...
This place is a complete dive (not dangerous but a great dive feel) and has great bands...
Dress Code: No worries.
The Local is a good looking Irish pub on Nicolett Mall. The interior is expansive and mostly built by using dark wood - just like the 'real' pubs in Europe.
I went there on a Saturday afternoon and the place is empty; but I heard it is a very popular hangout for after-work crowd and I can imagine the place cozily packed on a weeknight.
The bartender was very knowledgeable about the local spots - the price is on the expensive side ($5.5 for a pint of Miller Light). I didn't eat but they've got a rather large menu. Visit their website for more pictures and virtual tour.