Even though the Twin Cities may not have same variety of nightlife as New York or Los Angeles, Minneapolis bars definitely have plenty of character and a unique atmosphere found nowhere else. Nye's Bar & Polonaise Room is a one-of-a-kind bar in the heart of Minneapolis. Polish food, live polka music, glittering gold booths and 1960s décor have made this bar popular for anyone in their 20s to 120s. Dive bar connoisseurs should put Lyle's Bar and Restaurant high on their list of places to stop. Affectionately nicknamed "Liquor Lyle's," this place is here to get patrons rip-roaring drunk—see two for one cocktail specials—and makes no apologies. Those in the mood for something a little classier, not that that's saying much, will probably enjoy the 1940s-themed Ike's Food & Cocktails. Sinatra records quietly play in the background while patrons sip martinis and much on turkey sandwiches. With all of the different drinking establishments available, anyone of legal age is sure to find a new place to become a regular.
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600 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.339.7200
Bellanotte, right in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, has a great atmosphere and delicious Italian food and wine. Bellanotte's happy hour is one of the best around and features $2.50 drinks and appetizers. These drink specials make Bellanotte perfect for first dates—it'll only take around $10 to break the ice. The atmosphere at this Minneapolis restaurant and bar also makes it perfect for large groups and has 250 seats to accommodate everyone. When in the mood for upscale Italian cuisine in the Twin Cities, Bellanotte heartily delivers.
1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.332.3908
Brit's Pub has bragging rights of having the only elevated lawn bowling green in the United States. And that's up on the roof. The same rooftop garden screens films in the summertime for free. During the rest of the year, Brit's shows soccer games and major releases indoors, and also hosts a popular monthly Pub Quiz. The two floors of indoor space include a separate dining area, a lounge and cocktail bar. Wash down the fish and chips, shepherd's pies, bangers and mash and dinner specials with one of a dozen English brews. This is English pub charm on a large scale.
917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.338.6425
Cabooze is a well-respected live music club in Minneapolis that always seems to book great acts almost every day of the week. This venue on the West Bank is small, so anywhere you happen to be standing or sitting will provide a great view of the stage. Whether or not music is playing, drinks flow all night making for a lively and fun crowd. The musical acts vary at Cabooze and include country, blues, rock, funk and reggae. Those who have a hankering for stiff drinks and live tunes while in the Twin Cities area should be sure to check out Cabooze.
Cafe & Bar Lurcat
1624 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.486.5900
Overlooking Loring Park in Minneapolis, Cafe & Bar Lurcat is a chic urban hangout with tasty food, great drinks and a friendly atmosphere. Lurcat has an impressive wine list with over 200 bottles and 40 available by the glass. Cafe Lurcat and Bar Lurcat have different menus. The food menu at the bar features a long list of small plates, perfect for sharing with friends. For a more substantial meal, Cafe Lurcat has a large selection of delicious entrees. For those times when you just want to relax and take in the views of Minneapolis, there isn't a better place than Cafe & Bar Lurcat.
2300 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.874.7226
In every way the standard dive bar that everyone feels comfortable in, CC Club is a predictably fun joint generally frequented by the odd collection of standard dive bar boozers. While the mood crowd oscillates between easy going and slightly feistier, anyone from straight-laced neighborhood residents to fully tattooed rockers can be seen slamming down some seriously stiff drinks on a regular basis. The kitchen kicks out delicious pub grub that's better than most places, so anyone smart enough to fill their tummy with food before the alcohol won't be disappointed. The great thing about CC's is that anyone who parties here all night and manages to keep themselves out of trouble between last call and 10am can come back to nurse their hangovers with a killer breakfast; steak and eggs for under seven dollars? Who could ever complain?
2916 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.824.7878
Sure, the food at Chino Latino might not seem authentic and the crowd may have a few too many uppity yuppies and wannabe hipsters, but where else can you find a menu with deep-fried guinea pig, sushi rolls and a dessert called Hot Monkey Love? People come back to Chino Latino, located in uptown Minneapolis, for its atmosphere that is unlike anything else found in the Twin Cities. Latin tunes and strong drinks keep the crowd lively and feeling good. Chino Latino's open floor plan also makes it one of the best places in Minneapolis for some serious people watching.
923 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.332.2686
This swanky, sexy hangout caters to just about every boozer out there by offering two of the greatest things in life: music and liquor. The interior design of Clubhouse Jaeger is decidedly unique, boasting British pub-style architecture, a disco ball and random palm trees; as odd as this all may sound, the ambiance here is surprisingly addictive. Fridays are great for free live music, and every other night there is a DJ pumping out random beats of all genres.
26 N. 5th St., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.659.9000
Drink is a local favorite Warehouse District hotspot to simply drink. The half-price drink specials have made Drink a popular pre-party destination for those planning on going out in Minneapolis. On Thursday and Friday nights, bar goers can enjoy the free appetizer buffet before hitting the dance floor or getting more drinks. Since this bar mostly caters to those in the mood to drink heavily, it is a great place to meet new people once the social lubricant has kicked in.
3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.822.1688
Figlio is known for having one of the best happy hours in the entire Twin Cities area and with its $2 happy hour menu, rightly so. House wines by the glass, tap beer, mini burgers, mini pizzas, cheese fries and Italian meatballs with garlic toast are all just $2 each. Figlio won't disappoint those in the mood for an actual dinner either. An assortment of pasta, hand tossed pizzas, seafood, burgers and grilled items are featured on the extensive menu. When hankering for quality food and drinks on the cheap, don't pass up Figlio in the heart of Minneapolis.
701 First Avenue N., Minneapolis MN; Tel. 612.338.8388
The granddaddy of Minneapolis nightlife since the '80s, First Avenue hosts a wide assortment of touring rock bands, dance music DJs, local heroes like Hüsker Dü, The Replacements, Soul Asylum and Prince, and new discoveries. Its spacious black interior is nooked and crannied to the nines, with spaces to veg out, play video games, hang on the bar or, of course, watch the band. Friday and Saturday night dance parties are a constant stream of urban uptowners, hipsters and wannabes. The annexed 7th Street Entry nightclub, linked by a doorway and a separate cover charge, hosts local acts and indie rockers seven nights a week. The Entry is notorious for New Band Night every Tuesday, where many local acts have warmed up the stage before taking on the rest of the world.
911 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.340.9738
Grumpy's Bar is a neighborhood favorite. This dive-y little nook offers liquor-filled respite from long work days and life's general chaos, and has an atmosphere where everyone feels at home. Several pool tables keep antsy crowds happy, and there are always bands, art shows, DJ's and a variety of other events on the calendar. Wednesday nights boast open-mic comedy shows, and karaoke is a staple for Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. When there isn't a special event going on, the jukebox spills out the general array of classic rock and dive bar tunes. Almost every night of the week, regulars of all shapes and sizes can be found boozing it up with each other and chowing down on juicy burgers and other pub grub favorites.
Ike's Food & Cocktails
50 S. 6th St., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.746.4537
Ike's Food & Cocktails, located almost on top of the Minneapolis City Center, may serve the best burger in the entire world. This popular restaurant and bar in the Twin Cities seems to be a relic from the 1940s, complete with large wooden booths and Frank Sinatra playing in the background. Traditional favorites like shrimp cocktails and turkey sandwiches are available along with modern options including delicious spring roles. For a good, old-fashioned stiff drink, there might not be a better place in Minneapolis than Ike's Food & Cocktails. Combine that with Ike's unique atmosphere and it's impossible to go wrong while in the Twin Cities.
3001 Hennepin Ave. S., Calhoun Square, Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.378.1905
An odd mix of retro and modern, The Independent is a unique, sassy hangout most commonly frequented by well-dressed hipsters seeking a place to be mellow, enjoy great food and socialize in a cool, welcoming atmosphere. The menu is filled with delicious homemade American bistro fare, and features options guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning palate, including dishes like dim sum, grilled pear salad, Prosciutto pizza, lemon rosemary chicken and a half-pound hickory smoked bacon burger. This amazing hangout even offers a desert menu with everything from mud pie to the ultimate banana split. In addition to amazing food, The Independent features a fantastic bar and award-winning happy hours with five-dollar appetizers, five-dollar martinis, three-dollar taps and 2 for 1 prices on any mixed drink. Life doesn't get much better than this.
Jimmy's Food and Cocktails
11000 Red Circle Dr., Minnetonka, MN; Tel. 952.224.5858
Although Jimmy's Food and Cocktails seems like it would be a snooty upscale joint from its selection of prime steaks and various seafood items, like the champagne wasabi halibut, Jimmy's actually has a casual "come as you are" attitude. The 12-mile drive to Minnetonka from Minnesota is well worth it for the delicious cuisine combined with an impressive wine and cocktail list. For something a little different outside the Twin Cities area, Jimmy's Food and Cocktails is sure to impress.
606 Washington Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.340.0010
A classic bistro-style restaurant and bar, the Loop is good for everything from drinking to dining. The menu, which features diverse cuisine that will satisfy both vegans and carnivores, offers unique, tasty dishes like grilled tofu skewers, smoked chicken nachos and veggie wraps, as well as traditional favorites like the massive Loop burger and the 12oz grilled New York strip steak. Beer fans can choose from one of the six taps or the large selection of bottled imports and domestics, and everyone else will enjoy the wide variety of specialty cocktails and martinis. While The Loop is decked out with HD Plasma TVs that keep sports fans up on the score, it is also chic enough to cater to couples seeking a classier hangout for a Friday night.
Lyle's Bar and Restaurant - "Liquor Lyle's"
2021 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.870.8131
Everything about Liquor Lyle's screams neighborhood dive bar, and it's for this reason that Lyle's is one of the most beloved hangouts for the alternative crowds from all over the city. This cozy little dive is filled with the same types of friendly faces you would see in any other neighborhood bar, and is so distinctly unpretentious that it feels more like a home away from home. The best part about Liquor Lyle's is the full bar filled with cheap drink choices; the drinks here are as strong as they get and the famous 2 for 1 cocktail specials seem to be going on all day every day. As with any other dive, though, the bouncers at Lyle's are none to be trifled with; so if you're feelin' sassy or think grabbing your waitress is a good idea, you might as well go somewhere else and save yourself the hospital bills.
615 2nd Ave., S. #2, Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.752.9595
Martini Blu, located in the luxurious Grand Hotel in Minneapolis, isn't cheap, but it is one of the classiest places to have dinner and a drink in the Twin Cities. Entrees have Japanese roots and include the pan roasted Chilean sea bass, rack of New Zealand lamb and grilled ahi tuna steak. Martini Blu also has an extensive sushi menu featuring fresh sashimi and delicious rolls. The drinks are pricy but expertly mixed and most use premium spirits. To save some cash, check out Martini Blu's happy hour, which is from 4-6pm and 9-11pm nightly. For a classier club experience than those found in downtown Minneapolis, head over to Martini Blu.
Nye's Bar & Polonaise Room
112 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.379.2021
Nye's Bar & Polonaise Room has reached almost legendary status in the Minneapolis area. Live polka and dirty martinis seem to go very well together, and this Twin Cities bar delivers both with style. Since time machines are still in the development stage, Nye's Bar & Polonaise Room is the only real way to travel back to the 1960s. A live polka band performs in the back for a crowd of people ranging from twenty somethings to great grandparents. The piano bar in the front also keeps things interesting, but for those who don't feel like dancing, or who simply cant, there are incredible glittery gold booths to lounge in. You'll never forgive yourself if you don't go to Nye's Bar while visiting Minneapolis.
Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge
2519 N.E. Marshall St., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.788.9069
Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge is a St. Louis favorite, combining all the elements required for a great dive bar: cheap drinks, greasy food and a lighthearted atmosphere. Deliciously greasy appetizers include beer-battered cheese curds, pepperoni pizza rolls, potluck pickle roll-ups and, for the vegetarians, anti-chicken nuggets. Psycho Suzi's also serves sandwiches, salads and gourmet pizzas to accompany tropical cocktails and pitchers of beer. Though it may feel like getting trashed in a trailer park, Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge is a St. Louis bar that should not be missed by any true dive connoisseur.
Rossi's Steakhouse and Blue Star Jazz Room
80 S. 9th St., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.312.2880
Rossi's Steakhouse and Blue Star Jazz Room boasts live jazz during lunch and dinner every day of the week. Located in Minneapolis, this premier steakhouse and jazz club draws patrons from all over the Twin Cities. The wine list at Rossi's is as impressive as their steaks—over 200 bottles are featured from all over the world. This beautifully decorated restaurant features an excellent $3-$5-$7 happy hour menu and two for one drinks from 4-7pm, perfect for warming up before the jazz starts. Rossi's Steakhouse and Blue Star Jazz Room is an excellent place to catch live jazz, enjoy a perfectly cooked steak or simply relax with friends over a few cocktails.
Sally's Saloon and Eatery
712 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.331.3231
Sally's Saloon and Eatery, located in Stadium Village near the University of Minnesota's East Bank Campus, has been a U of M hotspot since its opening in 1992. Sally's gets packed on Wednesday nights, when ladies drink free from 10pm to midnight, but every other night features some type of outrageously cheap drink specials. This Minneapolis bar also has 15 TVs, three big screens, six pool tables, three dartboards, foosball and many other games to keep patrons entertained. To help soak up all the discounted booze, Sally's Saloon and Eatery has an extensive menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers and entrees. Awesome food and plenty of drinks—what else does a budding college student need?
900 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.338.0062
Solera, a delicious tapas restaurant and bar, boasts tasty small plates and expertly mixed signature cocktails in the heart of Minneapolis' theater district. Although Solera can get pretty pricy, the restaurant offers a late-night happy hour menu with some serious deals. The most expensive thing on the menu, poached shrimp with a hot pepper and citrus vinaigrette, is still only $6. The bar at Solera has a lively crowd and is a great place to bring a date or simply hang out with friends after work. When in the mood for tapas in Minneapolis, be sure to give Solera a try.
Triple Rock Social Club
629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.333.7499
There's really nothing bad anyone can say about the Triple Rock Social Club in Minneapolis. It features the best up-and-coming bands, delicious food and a huge selection of beer in the bottle and on tap. The menu has one of the largest vegan and vegetarian sections of any bar in the Twin Cities. Triple Rock Social Club is a favorite bar and eatery of Minneapolis locals even when bands aren't performing. The weekend breakfasts, served until 3pm, are incredible—especially with their award winning Bloody Mary. Triple Rock Social Club: great music, food and booze in heart of Minneapolis.
Williams Peanut Bar
2914 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN; Tel. 612.823.6271
This multi-level bar is the number one spot to be for shooting pool in Minneapolis. Upstairs is generally packed with the standard uptown folk listening to music, and boasts a full bar with a ridiculous amount of bottled brews available and popcorn to munch on. The downstairs portion, on the other hand, is where you'll find the peanuts that give this bar its name, not to mention 72 beers on tap. The prices are a little steeper than in most places, but the selection brews is more than enough to get anyone drunk enough to forget about how much they're paying. There are also random drink specials throughout the week, so there are good opportunities for anyone who doesn't want to pay five or six dollars for a pint.
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