An editor's guide to drinking around town


An editor's guide to drinking around town
An editor's guide to drinking around town


Minneapolis editor Drew Wood is about to show you everything from the micro-beer boom that rivals those in Portland and Denver, to a craft cocktail scene so handsome, George Clooney asks it for dating tips AND IT IGNORES HIM.

Best Club: The grandpappy of the Mpls club scene, The Lounge, just underwent a mega-bucks revamp and became Rouge at The Lounge. It's where I went when I was 24, and it'll damn sure be the place I go when I'm 34.

Best for Work: Part of the appeal of grabbing a post-work libation for me is leaving the hustle behind, which's why I head to the outskirts of town, ponying up at Cafe Maude at Loring's bourbon-based bar for twisted takes on classics minus the cab-ified chaos of the city it borders.

Best for Partying: A one-stop shop where you can eat, watch a game (on the most advanced TV set-up in town), and then stay to party, not only does The Pourhouse have an alley-fied courtyard complete with games like Hammerschlagen and Jacob's Ladder, but their nightly party is officially called "The Sh*t Show".

Best Drink: According to a friend of mine, Pip Hanson -- one of the TC's top bartenders and the brains behind Marvel Bar -- once told him, "If I could spend the rest of my life drinking a simple classic gin martini at 5p everyday, I'd die a happy man". So it's no surprise that even as he delves into more adventurous territory, his gin martini is better than any you've ever tasted. Just don't order it with olives, or he'll "stab you in the neck with a stirring spoon".

Best Cocktail Bar: Although most would probably say Marvel Bar (also a solid choice), I'd have to say Eat Street Social. The bar's helmed by the mixological masterminds behind Bittercube Bitters, and they enlist an old-timey soda fountain in the service of making classic craft 'tails.

Best Beer Bar: Once an old-school, taxidermy-heavy saloon that turned into a shameless college party bar on the outskirts of the U of Minn's Mpls campus (where this writer had, on occasion, enjoyed a fish bowl), Republic has now stripped away the major label beer tchotchkes and, mercifully, the major label beer, and in their place added 60-plus craft taps, all of which are dynamic and ever-rotating.

Best Wine Bar: I don't do a lot of wine bar-ing, but when I do, it's at Lucia's.

Best Local Beer: The local hoppiness that launched a thousand bitter copycats, Surly Furious is the most pervasive beer in town.

Best Brewery: There've been a rash of strong micro-breweries popping up around the TCs of late (Indeed, Fulton, and 612Brew to name a few), but they owe it all to the grandaddy of Midwest craft brewing, St. Paul-based Summit, whose EPA is to Minnesota what Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is to Northern California.

Best Place to Day Drink: From beer bars, to cocktail joints, to places that resemble your crazy Uncle Herm's garage, there're roughly 843 solid choices for day drinking in the Twin Cities, but if I were serious about strapping on a solid nooner, I'd go to where the hardened day drinkers are and the light of day isn't: Northeast Palace.

Best Jukebox: One of the last great jukes in the Twin Cities recently made the move from carpeted indie rock venue the Turf Club to Mpls's one-stop craft/beer/skeeball shop, Pat's Tap, so it's there that my quarters'll run ragged on everything from Prince, to The Replacements, to Merle Haggard.

Best Outdoor Spot: Perched on the banks of the Mighty Miss, and with a sparkling view of an industrial dumping ground on the far side (literally), Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge is the perfect mix of fiery, volcano-fied, massive-patio-having tiki bar and post-nuclear Chernobyl.

Biggest Scene: With oodles of money comes oodles of women, and with oodles of both comes oodles of scenesters, which's exactly what's afoot at downtown Mpls's retractable roof super-venue Union.

Biggest Mess: From what I hear Johnny Tequila's Drinking Taco is so bizarrely raucous that by the end of the eve you'll actually think that name makes sense.

Published on

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Rouge at the Lounge 411 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

This sleek nightclub has three distinct rooms featuring space that includes faux-stone-block and non-faux-brick walls, black vinyl booths and a red LED-lit bar that perfectly accents the rest of the sexy interior, as well as a private area that can be rented for parties or one overindulgent egomaniac.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Cafe Maude At Loring 1612 Harmon Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Downtown)

Cafe Maude honors the spirit of "civilized leisure and civic responsibility" in the spot previously occupied by Nick & Eddie, serving up coal-fire staples and craft cocktails in an ambience flush with live music and chic decor.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. The Pourhouse 10 S 5th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (Downtown)

The Pourhouse retains Spin's 12000sqft but changes pretty much everything else, blending a Prohibition theme (moonshine barrels everywhere, jail cell bathrooms, a bookcase that opens to a hallway leading to a "Hooch Room") with a modern sports/ party bar, replete with a stage for DJs and live acts, graffiti murals, 20-plus TVs, and a 24ft HD projection screen that makes for "the best viewing experience for sports in the Upper Midwest".

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar 50 2nd Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (North Loop)

Upstairs, you'll find a friendly brick and timber restaurant offering a variety of organic dishes made with ingredients from their rooftop garden and other local growers, while downstairs is the dimly lit speakeasy that completes the duality of the building, as well as your unfulfilled craving for craft cocktails. At Marvel Bar, order the signature cocktail Oliveto, which features olive oil, egg white, lemon, Licor 43, and Gordon’s gin.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Eat Street Social 18 West 26th St, Minneapolis, MN 55404 (Whittier)

Although they have quite a menu for brunch, lunch and dinner, Eat Street's real claim to fame are their drinkables, like their original soda fountain creations and their expertly concocted brunch booze and seasonal cocktails. For a more kitschy experience, hit up the Tiki Bar in the back for fruity, garnished drinks. Every day, Eat Street Social features different drink specials, so make frequent trips to this casual but elegant place to experience it all.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Republic 221 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454 (Downtown)

With more than 30 reasonably priced brews on draught, 30-foot oak bar, and gastropub-quality food, Republic will find its way into your heart quicker than its gastropub-quality food.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Lucia's Wine Bar 1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (Uptown)

Escape the mega-bustle of Henn-Lake's shopping for a Pimms Cup, Campari, or Rob Roy at the greatest place you didn't know existed: Lucia's, where the vino and booze selection is classic, and the happy hour deals are robust, both of which suggest that perhaps you did know it existed, but just forgot.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Indeed Brewing Company 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (Northeast)

Indeed is a big proponent of the aluminum beer can, something which you'll learn all about if you take a tour of their facilities. Tours start and end in the taproom, so you'll be able to quench the thirst you've worked up from walking with some of Indeed's seasonal and flagship beers.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Fulton Brewery 414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

What began as a homebrewing operation in a one car garage has expanded into a full-blown enterprise. The taproom at Fulton is open every weekend, which is perfect for everyone who doesn't work on the weekend. And if you do work on the weekend, growler sales are also available. It looks like they've thought of everything, because they have!

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. 612Brew 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (Northeast)

Located in The Broadway, a historic building with exposed brick interiors and a polished concrete floor, 612Brew has exactly the kind of atmosphere you'd want in a brewery and taproom. Enjoy the year-round staples and seasonal offerings inside, or take your brews out to the patio and bask in the glory of fresh-air drinking.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Summit Brewing Company 910 Montreal Circle, St Paul, MN 55102 (West Seventh)

The tap room at Summit Brewing Company features a different food truck every Friday, as well as a special beer on tap in addition to the standard selection. Visitors of all ages are welcome, so you can bring the kids along for lunch while you enjoy a pint or two.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Northeast Palace 2500 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (Northeast)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and apparently, so are palaces. But what this dive bar lacks in actual palace-ness, it makes up for in delicious deep-fried awesomeness. And to be fair, no one can disagree it's in Northeast Minneapolis.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Pat's Tap 3510 Nicollet Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (Southwest)

Turning a former dive into a nifty SoMi gastropub by peeling away layers of grime and more or less gutting the rest, Pat's serves craft brews and food amidst a playful backdrop of vintage mechanical skee ball machines and pool, which'd actually be a nice place to cool down after a heated game of skee.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Psycho Suzi's 1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (Northeast)

A tiki bar with hilariously kitschy themed drinks and an incredible patio right on the Mississippi River, plus tons of vegetarian and vegan options (wink, wink. Get the burger.).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Union 733 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Downtown)

This bar and restaurant has a four-season retractable roof, craft cocktails like "Oh Si, Mas!!" (ancho-infused Reposado, mesquite-smoked plum lime sour), and a deliciously creative menu, with snacks like donuts holes with shallots and bacon, or chicken liver parfait with maple/ brioche/ acorn squash brulee.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Johnny Tequila's Drinking Taco 430 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

Blink and you missed the mega truncated rise and fall of Howl At The Moon, the Warehouse District piano bar in the former Rosen's/ District space. Blink again, and you missed the space transforming into an unabashed, unapologetic party bar with pool tables, an actually decent stable of taps, and killer drink specials too numerous to count... especially after killer drink specials.