Food & Drink

A town-by-town guide to Minnesota's best bars "Up North"

If you're not going to see an outdoor movie (or two!) this weekend, it's probably 'cause you're already at the cabin for a few days of boating, campfires, water skiing, fishing, and... um, nothing else, really. Unless you decided to get away from getting away at one of the best booze operations "Up North", which we've helpfully broken down for you by town.

Crosslake

Moonlite Bay (address and info)
The hip place to hang on the Whitefish Chain, MB features a killer patio for those beautiful Summer afternoons, and while the food isn’t that exciting, it's OK... Fridays and Saturdays nights are.

Zorbaz (address and info)
Boat up or drive, either way, the Zorbaz in Crosslake is always a good time, thanks in part to a plethora of games, a beach volleyball court, sweet eat/drink deals ($2 tacos & $2.75 domeztic pints all day on Tacoz & Tapz Tuesday), and their absolute refusal to stop replacing "S" with the letter "Z".

Deerwood

Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge (address and info)
Not as wild and crazy as Zorbaz, but still a great place to get something to eat and drink after a round of golf, thanks to great views of Bay Lake, and a sweet swimming beach equipped with water trampoline.

Lonesome Pine Restaurant and Bar (address and info)
Don't expect a packed dance floor at this out-of-the-way eat/drink spot on Lake Milaca, where they serve a surprisingly good chophouse menu (filet mignon, Alaskan crab legs, Canadian walleye, etc.) and pour a respectable selection of taps.
 

Burger
Thrillist

Foley

Mr. Jim’s (address and info)
This old-school, polished wood-heavy roadhouse on the side of Highway 23 is the best destination for live music this side of, like, Sauk Rapids (!). They've got awesomely greasy pub eats like cheese balls, and sauteed mushroom-topped burgers too.

Brainerd

Shep’s On 6th (address and info)
This sports hang boasts tons of memorabilia and televisions on the walls, a spacious patio outside, and generous drink-slingers behind the bar, making it a fun boozing option in the the Summer, but an even better option in the fall when the Vikings are playing.

Gull Lake

Ernie’s (address and info)
It's got an outdoor drinking space is so big it needs its own menu (complete w/ asparagus fries, walleye fingers, pork belly tacos, etc.), DJs and live music on the weekends, and great drink deals during the week. What’s not to like? And that's before we even mention the view.