Amidst the bustle and megattractions of downtown Mpls, there's a pretty solid chance you've missed some of the really great, under-the-radar stuff around. So put down that portable radar you apparently carry, and check out our downtown neighborhood guide
Buy Dead People's Clothes, Look Dead Sexy: MidNorth Mercantile 217 5th Ave N; 612.817.1777 When thrifty American-made men's shop Greenwich Vintage went all-in on slapping colored soles on vintage wingtips, the lip-coiffed half of their trifecta, Mustache Mike, bartered for the rights to their piles of Pendleton, Woolrich, Red Wing, and company, and, after amassing an insane amount more, opened his own glorious shop in the North Loop next to Saffron. Stop by to browse the racks of American men's gear, and while you're there hit the Vitalis-y barbershop in back to get fixed-up right proper. Check out more on MM, here
Bottle Service Meets Ms. Pac-Man: Insert Coins 315 1st Ave N; 612.564.4016 Say what you will about a place that started in Vegas and calls itself an "ultra-lounge", but damn it if Insert Coins in the former Karma space on 1st Ave can't provide you with one of the most diverse evenings in town. On the one hand, it's a club with bottle service and weekly world-class guest DJs, but on the other, far cooler, potentially Power Glove-wearing hand, it's a disgustingly copious gamer's paradise, replete with a stockpile of old-school arcades running from NBA Jam, to Dig Dug, to motion-sensor 3D fun on two 70in TVs. More info for gamers, wanna-be gamers, and non-gamers
Hot/ Haute Indian Spot With A Lunch Buffet: Copper Pot Indian Grill 10 S 5th St; 612.331.6677 Totes overlookable from the street, this super-affordable Indian jam on the Henn/ 5th St corner of the Lumber Exchange Building dishes a mad array of traditional Indian cuisine like clay oven kebabs, Tellicherry duck (pepper, olive oil, spinach, garlic), prawns cooked with coconut, coriander & chilis, and meat fanciness like lamb tenderloin in saffron & cardamom cream sauce. There's also an all-you-can-eat copper-potted lunch buffet for the worker bee, so stuff yourself and make sure no one overlooks you. Read on about Copper Pot...
Get Really Fancy Food Really Freaking Cheap: Mona Restaurant & Bar's Nightly Happy Hour 333 S 7th St; 612.259.8636 DT's chock-full of slamming deals on any given day (especially a Wolves, Vikes, or Twins one) but 3-for-1s on major-label domestics and 1/2 price formerly frozen wings can suck it, because in the quiet, office-y recesses of 3rd Ave S, the fancy-pants, chef-driven Mona is not only dropping prices on beer and booze ($5 specialty cocktails), but also on a slick array of small dishes: $3 deviled eggs, $5 smoked fish, and $6 suicide fries. Ironically, they'll make you realize you've so far been throwing your life away by not going to Mona's happy hour. More on Mona's great American cocktails
A Bike Shop For People Intimidated By Bike Shops: Handsome Cycles 115 Washington Ave N; 612.353.4035 Mpls Bike Co for the common man, Handsome Cycles used to peddle their dapper rides outta their pseudo-storefront The Alt (which, HC's co-owner managed at the time) on Lyn-Lake, but a recent partnership with their long-time buddies at North Loop's legendary cafe/ bike shop One On One led to them renovating the adjacent Washington Ave space into a bike lifestyle store with everything from Twin Six tees, to the Levis Commuter line, to a build-your-own Handsome ride bike studio in back. Most importantly, they've got the type of aw-shucks approachableness that won't make you feel like a clown for not knowing what hubs are. So much to say about these handsome cycles
Hit A Beer Bar With Balls: Devil's Advocate 89 10th St S; 612.843.2260 Despite its 50+ well-wrought taps in the former Inn space on 10th St S, this place occasionally gets overlooked by the TC's beerati. All the better for you, as you can stretch out at the room-spanning custom oak bar and sip internationals (La Chouffe Houblon DBL Belgian IPA) and domestics (Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball), while munching their meatball-heavy menu. Find out more info on running with the Devil
Because What Rocks More Than Rock Is Laughing Your Freaking Ass Off: Acme Comedy Club 708 N 1st St; 612.338.6393 Skip packing into First Ave to try and catch a glimpse of the impossibly-slim figures that comprise a band named Deer or Bear or something, and instead get laughed silly at the gold-standard of Midwestern comedy clubs: Acme. Tucked peacefully away by the river in the North Loop, past headliners range from Hannibal Burress, to Maria Bamford, to Dave Attell. Nothing beats LOL IRL -- go here for the 411 on Acme Comedy Club