Food & Drink

The Most Beautiful Bars in the Twin Cities

Published On 12/11/2015 Published On 12/11/2015
James Kruger Landmark

If you ask us, any bar that keeps a fair stock of booze on hand is truly a beautiful thing. Then again, we suppose there are other things that might work to help make a bar something more than just a temporary storage for liquor that hasn’t yet been drunk. For those of you who look for more than a steady supply of alcohol, the Twin Cities definitely have their fair share of bars that are easy on the eyes sans beer goggles. These are a few of our favorite places where we can appreciate the work that went into the aesthetic of the bar as much as the bar itself.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Clubhouse Jager

Northloop

This building has been rocking the booze since 1906 and while the outside might not look like a whole lot, the massively high-ceilinged interior is certainly a site. Aside from all of the gorgeous woodwork, the big fireplace, and all of the cool glass, it's also got a couple of Ouija boards hanging out at the bar for good karma.

Flickr/jpellgen

Meritage

Downtown St. Paul

While the whole of the restaurant is classically beautiful, the bar section is an amalgamation of rustic comfort and refined character. It’s the perfect place to grab a bottle of wine and a platter of oysters, a martini and a cheese platter, or a beer and a burger.

Foreign Legion

Foreign Legion

Downtown Minneapolis

The newly redone Foreign Legion is a model for contemporary classics. The rich wood and dim lighting provide a cozy lounge-like atmosphere in a way that almost makes us feel like it’s a really modern, upscale version of Cheers. There’s also plenty of comfy seating for when you just need to get your drink on and relax.

Butcher & the Boar

Butcher & the Boar

Downtown Minneapolis

Seriously though, this restaurant really deserves to be on this list twice. While the main bar has incredibly gorgeous woodwork that proudly displays a vast array of luscious bourbons, the outdoor beer garden is equally as alluring, showcasing a variety of plant life, fire pits, and an eloquent little bar which can be utilized all year long.

WA Frost & Company

W.A. Frost

Cathedral Hill

The downstairs lounge at this old-school St. Paul restaurant is truly one of the more magnificent spots in the Twin Cities. Upon arrival you’re instantly transported back to another era via the rich and intricate wood and the lavish stonework, making it the perfect place to just sit and sip on a well-crafted Old Fashioned.

Flickr/Josh Haroldson

Monte Carlo

Northloop

High ceilings, a copper-topped bar, and a giant wall of booze make this old Minneapolis bar truly a site to behold. While every inch of it screams old-school steakhouse, especially the ornate ceiling panels, it still manages to hang on to a slight air of modernism with the low-hanging chandeliers and the strategically placed track lighting.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

St. Paul Grill

Downtown St. Paul

Another one of the Twin Cities' old yet extremely regal bars, filled with rich mahogany and shiny brass, showcases a fine selection of rare spirits and wine. It’s the perfect place to pony up to the bar and order a Scotch, neat, while reflecting upon your life.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

Sanctuary

Downtown Minneapolis

This quaint little bar features simple, yet charming wood framing for its stonework backdrop which makes it feel more like a remote ski chalet than a Downtown bar and restaurant. It’s excellent for sipping on any one of the well-thought-out cocktails or a nice bottle of wine.

Keane Amdahl/Thrillist

HauteDish

Downtown Minneapolis

The first things you notice walking into this Downtown haute spot are the high vaulted ceilings, the long bar, and the intricate wood molding that frames the whole thing, making it a space like no other in the whole of the Twin Cities. It's also got top-notch cocktails and beers to go along with its decor, so it's an ideal little spot to hit if you’re looking to try and impress your friends.

The Liffey Irish Pub

The Liffey

Downtown St. Paul

Everybody loves a good Irish pub and just across the way from the Xcel Energy Center sits this little masterpiece of a bar. From floor to ceiling the ornate nature of the bar is on display, beautifully framing the lush, rounded bar which was actually constructed in Dublin before getting shipped overseas to eventually land itself in St. Paul.

KDKramer Photography

Constantine

Downtown Minneapolis

This is easily the one of the newest places on our list, but the lush, gothic nature of the bar really is pretty stunning. From the rich wood and leather paneling, to the ornate drapery and luxuriant nature of the archways, this German-esque hunting lodge-style craft cocktail bar is certainly a site to see.

The Commodore Bar & Restaurant

The Commodore

Cathedral Hill

If you want to drink like you’re F. Scott Fitzgerald or a 1920s-era gangster then this newly restored Art Deco bar is exactly where you need to be. This swanky St. Paul bar boasts interesting woodwork, a barrage of mirrors, and opulent marble flooring that are all designed to transport you back in time to a place where “craft” cocktails were simply known as just “cocktails.”

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Keane Amdahl is a veteran Twin Cities blogger who occasionally notices more about a bar than just what's on its whiskey list. Follow his crazy antics on Twitter: @Foodstoned.

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1. Clubhouse Jager 923 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (North Loop)

Nightly entertainment like DJs and more, plus killer eats for lunch and dinner, AND a patio and firepit?! Yes.

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2. Meritage 410 Saint Peter St, St. Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Meritage is a swanky French brasserie slinging lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, including eats like an outrageous French onion soup, oysters, and crepes. Their wine list is expertly curated, and perfect for anyone with any range of wine knowledge.

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3. Foreign Legion 105 S 5th St Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN 55403

In addition to this spot's vast selection of fancy wines and cheeses, they’re also rocking the grilled cheese like no one else. Wrap that up with a fantastic list of cured meats that can be ordered in a variety of different ways and you’ve got yourself a snackers paradise.

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4. Butcher & The Boar 1121 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

A deceptively large neighborhood noshery with wood stoves and penny-tiled floors dominated, Butcher puts equal emphasis on bourbon, beer, and shareable plates.

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5. WA Frost & Company 374 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Classic American food, prepared with local ingredients -- like tons of other places. But, at W.A. Frost they've been local sourcing since the beginning and have a killer outdoor space in their flower covered patio. Look out for seasonal menu changes and their expansive wine list.

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6. Monte Carlo Restaurant 219 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Central)

A landmark steakhouse that's been around since 1906, Monte Carlo's got lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, plus a copper bar and a massive umbrella'd patio.

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7. St. Paul Grill 350 Market St, St. Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Often lauded as the best restaurant in the Twin Cities, SPG's a classic steakhouse with wicked-good burgers and an extensive list of cocktails and spirits.

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8. Sanctuary 903 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (Downtown)

Exposed brick, a warm atmosphere, and top-notch American and French fare are what you can expect from this Downtown eat/drinkery.

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9. HauteDish 119 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

The much-lauded Dish, between the Warehouse and Gateway districts, rocks a menu with artfully presented, reinvented takes on Midwestern classics like mac and cheese with king crab and truffle oil, blackened fish tacos and, steak and potatoes. Perfect for empty stomachs at any hour, Haute offers choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but if you go in after the late evening, you'll be able to choose from a long list of house cocktails and dozens of draught beers from nearby breweries.

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10. The Liffey Irish Pub 175 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

This warmly light, old school Irish pub is sure to be your new wintertime home away from home. Grab a stool and gab with the regulars over hot toddies and Guinness. Believe it or not, this bar was built in Ireland before being assembled in the states, so drinking here is essentially like drinking in Ireland.

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11. Constantine 1115 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Downtown)

Housed in the luxurious Hotel Ivy in Downtown Minneapolis, this subterranean, slightly vampiric bar is known for its "Whiskey Chapel" and various cocktail offerings, all crafted by mixologists. Constantine also serves a number of elevated bar bites, like fois gras nachos. Despite the decor and fancy dishes, Constantine never takes itself too seriously, which is evident in its cocktail names. For example, one of the best cocktails on the menu is the Lumbersexual, with contains citrus vodka, orange curacao, lime, and cranberry cordials.

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12. The Commodore 79 Western Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Get swanky in this Art Deco resto and bar that serves classic spirits with all that jazz. Pay homage to the movers and shakers of the 20s and 30s with a Fitzgerald, Zelda, or Dorothy Parker cocktail.

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