Matt's Bar is a neighborhood favorite boasting one particularly famous and beloved specialty: the Jucy Lucy. This Minneapolis favorite is a cheeseburger with the cheese stuffed on the inside of the burger instead of melted on top. Matt's has been featured on the Travel Channel's hit show, Man vs. Food, with the spotlight on, you guessed it, the Jucy Lucy. This dive bar has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike for over 25 years. If you are looking for the opposite of a stylish, swanky bar and food experience, Matt's is your ideal place for a bite and a beer.
This classy bar and grill has been a pioneer among local restaurants by offering regional, home-produced food. This casually chic establishment has evolved into the best place to hear local and national jazz acts. An intimate stage separates the bar from the dining room. The acoustics are considered some of the best in the Upper Midwest. The menu features trout from a Wisconsin farm and local game fowl, mushrooms, and wild rice. It is all put together with the utmost care and a lot of imagination. The wine (including some by local wineries), beer and liquor selection is impeccable.
This nightspot is considered by many to be the top rock club in the Twin Cities. The best of the local talent and many national acts headline each and every night. By the shape of the building, which looks like a large caboose, you would think the acoustics would be poor. Quite the contrary, as the overflow crowds will attest. Along with a great beer selection, wine, liquor and soft drinks are served. Stick with the burgers or appetizers to satisfy your hunger. Pool tables, foosball and darts provide a definite working-class atmosphere. Arrive early for local bands and even earlier for the big acts, otherwise you will be standing or miss getting in at all. Advance sale tickets are available at select locations. Price varies according to act. Doors generally open an hour or two before showtime.
Enjoy samples of Japanese delicacies offered at Moto-i brewery and restaurant on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis. This Japanese eatery boasts of being 'the first sake brewery restaurant outside of Japan' and backs it up by serving their own sake varieties, much to the delight of avid drinkers. Sip on sake served along with small portions of rice preparations and dumplings while seated on the rooftop terrace of this eatery. This brewery also has a selection of beers and tasty Japanese appetizers to get you started on your meal.
The PourHouse is a new lounge that replaced the Spin Nightclub. Based on the Prohibition theme, it re-creates the aura and atmosphere of a speakeasy lounge complete with the 1920s decor. It features a main bar area, upstairs room and an outdoor patio, thereby allowing large groups and avoiding over-crowding. The lounge also hosts live music concerts, stand-up comedy shows, theme parties, DJ sessions and many other events. If you are interested in hosting a fund-raising party here, then the staff at PourHouse will be more than glad to assist you. For more details and gig guide, call ahead.
The Saloon is one of the Twin Cities' main gay bars. From the Tank to the Chicken Coop to the Stand, this is where the action is. Leather is a necessity to enter the Tank. A dress code is enforced. Thursday is under-21 night, Tuesday features karaoke and Sunday is 1980's retro. On weekends, the club becomes the hottest dance party in town, straight or gay. The music is loud, the patrons rock until 3am, and the place is packed wall to wall. If the dance floor is too crowded, try pool, pinball, darts or video games. Burgers, sandwiches, salads and deep fried appetizers highlight the limited menu. The saloon has an excellent beer list, both domestic and imported.
One of the best Irish bars in town, Merlins Rest gives plenty of reason to visit. Whiskey enthusiasts will be impressed by their exhaustive list of Scotch and Irish whiskeys, while beer lovers can gurgle on a fine Irish beers. There is also a selective list of wine and signature cocktails. Tipple on happy hours and nosh on tasty Irish pub bites. There is no dearth of entertainment as well with kilt nights, live music, scotch tastings and more.
At one time, Minneapolis had the lock on alternative rock hangouts. Not wanting to miss a good thing, Turf Club abandoned its long-time country format to cater to an alternative rock style. Soon rockers west of the river discovered the new turf and contributed to what has become one of the Twin Cities' most popular clubs. New bands have found a home to sharpen their acts during the week and on weekends the best the area has to offer takes the stage. An occasional national act makes the scene and it is packed to suffocation. Escape the music to play pool or darts in the lower level, the renovated Clown Lounge, featuring its own bar. Domestic and imported beers can be enjoyed by most but wine coolers, cocktails and soft drinks are also served.
Northbound Smokehouse and Brewpub is a casual place to eat, drink and be merry. The best items on the menu are all perfected in house, from the smoked meats to the five house-brewed beers. Food items include smoked wings, chili, onion rings and even a banh mi sandwich. There is also outdoor seating and a few TVs around so you can still catch the game.
As the oldest gay bar in St. Paul, the music and the characters here magically transform on a nightly basis. If you don't like it one night, check it out the next as the theme changes. Wednesdays are devoted to posing drag queens and Fridays give way to rock and roll. Cowboys and cowgirls line dance on Thursdays and Saturdays until their spurs no longer jingle or jangle. The back room, now known as Blanche's and decorated in the style of a 1930s cabaret, is home to a piano bar with Twin Cities' legend Lori Dokken tickling the ivories. Appetizers and sandwiches are available but most are there to sip wine, cocktails, beer or soft drinks and take part in the festivities.