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Twin Cities Best Bars

Cocktails. Tap rooms. Beer. Bourbon. It's all here, ready for your consumption



Maki Strunc & Sidecar

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THE ESSENTIAL LIST


PUB

George and the Dragon

You can get better fish and chips at, well, The Anchor Fish and Chips, and a more colorful atmosphere at Merlin’s Rest. And running out of Guinness, which happened one of the nights we visited, is almost grounds for dismissal. But in southwest Minneapolis, George provides the one thing that really matters in a pub: a gathering place. Here, you can take the kids after soccer practice, talk with your neighbors or about your neighbors—the line out the door suggests there is no one who doesn’t feel welcome. (The garrulous owner, Fred Navarro, may well be your neighbor: he lives a few blocks away.) Careful, though: this is still a bar, and the New Holland Dragon’s Milk, offered as a Guinness substitute, may well be the strongest beer you’ve ever had. This gentrified dragon still has some fire in its belly.  —T.G.
813 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-208-1047, ganddpub.com
 

DIVE BAR

1029 Bar

Don’t get us wrong, we're all about the cheap burgers and beer at the Diners, Drive-ins and Dives–lauded Anchor Bar in Superior, Wisconsin. But the last time we stopped in, the place had more flies than the great outdoors, the cracked vinyl seats scratched our thighs, and if you wanted your table wiped off, you had to grab a rag and do it yourself. So, instead, we retreated to Minneapolis’s old-school 1029 Bar, where you can experience  the vibe of a dive—gruff service, charitable gambling, bras and beer paraphernalia all over the walls—while enjoying the Smack Shack’s gourmet fare, including lobster rolls and sandwiches stuffed with roasted leg of lamb. —R.H.
1029 Marshall St. NE, Mpls., 612-379-4322, the1029bar.com
 

Top Beer List

Happy Gnome

The Happy Gnome’s encyclopedia of 76 craft drafts can be daunting, even for the snobbiest of beer snobs. Thankfully, the list is broken down into seven simple categories: Belgian-y, Hoppy, Unique, Fruity, Malty/Sweet, Something Lighter, and Depth. Try all from your favorite category or come during non-rush hours (i.e. not during weekend dinnertime) to mix and match a five-sample flight. But whatever you do, don’t ask for a Miller Lite. Because nobody wants to see an unhappy gnome. —E.B
498 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-287-2018, thehappygnome.com
 

BARGAINS

Spasso, Pairings

Those who watch wine prices hate to look at a restaurant wine list and know that they’re paying double the price of drinking the same bottle at home. But a couple of west-metro eateries, Spasso and Pairings, do away with alcohol markup entirely by allowing diners to purchase beverages in their adjacent liquor shops and enjoy them with their meal at no additional charge. And while you’re at it, Cheapskate, Spasso offers a limited number of complimentary round-trip car-service reservations each day, for parties of up to six people. —R.H.
Spasso Restaurant, 17523 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-224-9555, spassomn.com • Pairings Food & Wine Market, 6001 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka, 952-426-0522, pairingsfoodandwine.com
 

RETRO BAR

Murray’s

Some bars are simply old. Tired. Worn-out mutts that no longer want to play. What you want is old-fashioned. A pup in its prime—Lassie licking your face in Technicolor. You want Murray’s, the venerable downtown steak joint, which re-opened in September after overhauling its pink-draped dining room and smoke-soaked bar, restoring the luster to a circa 1946 gent who has aged into white bucks and leisure suits. There’s a horseshoe bar now, faintly Art Deco with a shiny walnut top, and booths wrapping around the walls. There are TVs, unavoidably, but they function more like animated décor—no one’s really watching. Instead, patrons are ordering cocktails like they just got back from the Korean War. They’re talking about kids and mortgages, but in a far-off way. They’re thinking about a steak. Because a good retro bar doesn’t make you feel old, it makes you feel forever young. —T.G.
26 S. Sixth St., Mpls., 612-339-0909, murraysrestaurant.com
 

NONALCOHOLIC

Café Maude

You used to be able to hang. Whiskey on the rocks. Hendricks and tonic. A velvety Pinot Noir. But now you’re pregnant. Or the DD. Or training for the Twin Cities Marathon. But a Coke or, God forbid, a Shirley Temple, ain't gonna cut it. You’re an adult, for crying out loud. That’s why you've booked happy-hour plans at Café Maude, where you can order Le Tigre, described on the menu as a “slightly spicy grapefruit punch.” Or a zesty strawberry-lemon spritzer. Or, for those with a sense of humor, the Rubber Ducky: a spunky blue-raspberry lemonade garnished with a Peep. Finally, a full list of fun, sophisticated drinks for the teetotaler. Just because you’re abstaining doesn’t mean you’re dull. —K.D.
5411 Penn Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-5411, cafemaude.com
 

LOUNGE

Bradstreet Craftshouse

Since 2009, Bradstreet Craftshouse has received all sorts of recognition for its handcrafted cocktails and elegant fare, including within this magazine's pages. And while the pre-Prohibition cocktails are delicious and the small plates are a delight, we’d like to also pay tribute to Bradstreet’s sexy, swanky décor and laid-back ambiance. Most downtown Minneapolis drink joints feel like one cavernous cattle call—mechanical bull included. By contrast, Bradstreet’s soothing, dimly lit digs are an intimate oasis, especially the ultra-mod Parlour Room in back. If you’re looking to relax, go ahead and part the heavy velvet curtains, knock back a few hard beverages, and melt right into a couch. —A.B.
601 First Ave. N., Mpls., 612-312-1821, bradstreetcraftshouse.com
 

MUSIC

Dakota, Turf Club & Amsterdam

The best nights out couple booze and music with a fine synergy, making magic of them both. What goes better with a fine Scotch or a big pour of Merlot than smooth jazz? Exactly. If it’s a sipping night, order it neat at the Dakota (and wear something nice). If you're in the mood to crack open a PBR, the music—live or from a jukebox—will go down easy at the Turf Club or the 331 Club. And for a knockout punch of strong Belgian ale and jams, look no further than Amsterdam Bar and Hall. —K.D.
Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-332-1010, dakotacooks.com • Turf Club, 1601 University Ave., St. Paul, 651-647-0486, turfclub.net • 331 Club, 331 13th Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-331-1746, 331.mn • Amsterdam Bar and Hall, 6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul, 612-285-3112, amsterdambarandhall.com
 

ZOMBIE BAR

Donnie Dirk’s Zombie Den

When the night of their attack arrives—and it will, my friends, make no mistake—you’ll find us here, perched on one of the tufted-vinyl chairs and slumped over a brain-numbing concoction with a kitschy name like the Frozen Stiff (an ice-cream drink, natch). Because if you’re gonna tangle with someone’s mummy, you’ll need something more than a Mich Golden. And you’re going to want food that goes beyond beer nuts (there’s a direct line to Psycho Suzi’s for deliveries). Plus, we’re comforted by the formality of the place: bartenders in white, bloodstained button-ups, waitresses in long black gowns. And if things get really bad, there’s always that case in the corner: the one with the chainsaw inside and the sign that reads “In case of zombie attack, break glass.”  —J.H.
2027 N. Second St., Mpls., 612-588-9700, donnydirks.com
 

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MN Events Calendar Sponsored by:

June 2015

Come to Big Sandy Lodge and Resort to get all the delicious pancakes you can eat for only $5.

Cost: $5

Where:
Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
20534 487th Street
McGregor, MN  55760
View map »


Sponsor: Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
Telephone: 218-426-5040
Website »

More information

Pride Parade Viewing Party UNION Rooftop – Downtown Minneapolis Start time: 9am (presale tickets) / 10am (day-of tickets) Live DJs: DJ Lindsay ‘Shiek’ Earney and DJ Lenka...

Cost: $10 (includes a free mimosas, glass of champagne or Absolute cocktail)

Where:
UNION Rooftop
731 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis , MN  55403
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Come join us at the Skyway Theatre as we take over the block for the Pride Parade!  Drinks and brunch starting at 9am and DJs at 12pm! Get the best seat for the best parade of the...

Cost: No Cover

Where:
Bar Fly & Maruso
715 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN  55403
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Telephone: 612-333-6100
Website »

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Pride Parade Rooftop Viewing Party CRAVE Rooftop – Downtown Minneapolis Live DJ: DJ FANCY RESTAURANT Start time: 9am $5 from each ticket donated to OutFront Minnesota ...

Cost: $10 (includes free Absolute or Jameson cocktail)

Where:
CRAVE Rooftop
825 Hennepin Ave MN
Minneapolis , MN  55402
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YogaFit's Mind Body Fitness Conference is where students work towards a Yoga Alliance registry, earn continuing education credits, or simply deepen one's yoga practice and transform...

Cost: $329- $975

Where:
Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Minneapolis , MN   55403
View map »


Website »

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Show your Pride by taking part in the Twin Cities Pride Rainbow Run on Sunday, June 28th! Starting at Boom Island and ending near Loring Park, the route takes runners along Hennepin Avenue as...

Cost: $30

Where:
Boom Island Park
800 Sibley Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN  55413
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Sponsor: Twin Cities Pride
Telephone: (612) 255-3260
Website »

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Join YogaLean's author Beth Shaw in this new 1 day YogaLean Transformational Workshop during the Minneapolis Mind Body Fitness Conference.  Explore holistic modalities of weight loss,...

Cost: $129.00

Where:
Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55403
View map »


Website »

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The 2015 Twin Cities Pride Festival features over 400 exhibitors, 40 food and beverage booths, 20 sponsors, and 300,000+ visitors who participate in this free celebration of the GLBT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Loring Park
1382 Willow Street
Minneapolis, MN  55403
View map »


Sponsor: Twin Cities Pride
Telephone: (612) 255-3260
Website »

More information

Join YogaLean's author Beth Shaw in this new 1 day YogaLean Transformational Workshop during the Minneapolis Mind Body Fitness Conference.  Explore holistic modalities of weight loss,...

Cost: $129.00

Where:
Hilton Minneapolis
1001 Marquette Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN  55403
View map »


Website »

More information

The 2015 Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade will be held on Sunday, June 28, beginning at 11 a.m. along Hennepin Avenue in Downtown Minneapolis. The Parade route starts at 3rd and Hennepin and ends at...

Cost: Free or $40 Grandstand tickets

Where:
Hennepin Ave in Downtown Minneapolis
Hennepin & 3rd to Hennepin & Spruce
Minneapolis, MN  55403
View map »


Sponsor: Twin Cities Pride
Telephone: (612) 255-3260
Website »

More information

The Twin Cities Pride Entertainment Team is excited to bring you over 50 local acts during Pride Weekend. The schedule is below, but know that things are subject to change.  ...

Cost: Free. $10 General/$75 VIP for Pride in Concert 6/27 5pm at Loring Stage.

Where:
Loring Park
1382 Willow St
Minneapolis, MN  55403
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Telephone: 612-255-3260
Contact Name: Twin Cities Pride
Website »

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The celebration will be held in true Lurcat style, featuring music, dancing, festive food, cocktails and more! Café & Bar Lurcat is central to the Pride festival in Loring Park and found...

Cost: Free to enter

Where:
Cafe & Bar Lurcat
1624 Harmon Pl
Minneapolis, MN  55403
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What do you get when you explore the magical, yet tangled, intersection between the genius of art and the self-destruction of addiction; set it to catchy music against a backdrop of vivid visual...

Cost: $25.00

Where:
Minnetonka Theatre
18285 Highway 7
Minnetonka, MN  55345
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Website »

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The Minnesota Boychoir, under the direction of Mark Johnson, will be concluding their 2015 East Coast Tour with a Welcome Home Concert this Sunday, June 28 at the Graebner Memorial Chapel on the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Graebner Memorial Chapel
Saint Paul, MN

More information

Don’t miss one of Minnesota’s hippest and hoppiest events. This local craft beer tasting event includes live music and a ton of tasty appetizers paired with the best brews in the Twin...

Cost: $50

Where:
Nicollet Island Pavilion
40 Power St.
Minneapolis, MN  55401
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Sponsor: Canvas Health
Website »

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Open Window Theatre is making a children's event of fantastical proportions with their summer youth theater production of James and the Giant Peach.  Roald Dahl's imaginative adventure...

Cost: ADVANCE: $6/child (lap child free), $8/student, $12/adult

Where:
Open Window Theatre
Metropolis Minneapolis Building
1313 Chestnut Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55403
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Telephone: 612-615-1515
Contact Name: Jeremy Stanbary
Website »

More information

We know it's the height of summer, so we think it's the perfect time to get a SUP you'll love. Get your board now while there is still plenty of summer left. Some of our hottest selling...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
, MN


Sponsor: Silver Creek Paddle
Website »

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Join us for an afternoon of stories, music, and poetry that evoke and express a profound connection to place — places we’ve lived, struggled, thrived, seen changed or destroyed, or...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Ox Coffee Co
3740 Chicago Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55407
View map »


Sponsor: Kairos Earth
Telephone: 405-365-8796
Contact Name: Chelsea Scudder
Website »

More information

We know it's the height of summer, so we think it's the perfect time to get a SUP you'll love. Get your board now while there is still plenty of summer left. Some of our hottest selling...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
, MN


Sponsor: Silver Creek Paddle
Website »

More information

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RN’s and LPN’s for Evenings, Nights & Weekends - $2,000 hiring bonus Trillium Woods, a brand new continuing care retirement community, is opening on July 6th and we are having an...

Cost: Free

Where:
Trillium Woods
14633 Country Road 4
Plymouth, MN  55446
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More information

Invest a few life-changing hours in our Power Trading Workshop, where you'll learn: How to identify points where supply and demand are out of balance and price is about to move. The two...

Cost: free

Where:
Online Trading Academy
7900 International Drive Suite 170
Bloomington, MN  55425
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Telephone: 952-814-4410
Website »

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Bring your lunch and learn more about the opportunities to live, learn, and work with a community overseas through Peace Corps service.   Peace Corps is a federal agency which provides...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Phalen Picnic Pavilion
1600 Phalen Dr
St. Paul, MN  55106
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Sponsor: Peace Corps
Telephone: 651.233.9605
Contact Name: Krista M. Mastel
Website »

More information

Bring your lunch and learn more about the opportunities to live, learn, and work with a community overseas through Peace Corps service. Peace Corps is a federal agency which provides U.S....

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Phalen Picnic Pavilion
1600 Phalen Drive
St. Paul, MN  55106
View map »


Sponsor: Peace Corps
Telephone: 612.233.9605
Contact Name: Krista M. Mastel
Website »

More information

Enhanced and engaged learning, creating and sharing ideas, and forming partnerships are just a few benefits of collaborative classroom learning. Now, with tools like Office 365, OneNote for...

Cost: Free

Where:
Microsoft Store - Mall of America
162 South Ave
Bloomington, MN  55425
View map »

More information

 Join us for a 4th of July barbecue, yard games, and outdoor movie hosted by Mary Mother's Young Adult Catholics Hanging Together group. All are welcome! Bring a dish to share. This...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mary Mother of the Church in Burnsville
3333 E. Cliff Road
Burnsville, MN  55337
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Sponsor: Young Adult Catholics Hanging Together
Telephone: 952-890-0045
Contact Name: Kosi Onyeneho
Website »

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OneNote is a free cross-platform app that helps students and teachers save time, stay organized, and collaborate more effectively in and out of the classroom. Students can build portfolios of...

Cost: Free

Where:
, MN

More information

Summer is the sweetest time to savor the river, so sign up now for River City Revue! It's a delectable blend of live music, cool history, and hands-on art adventures, all happening at the Saint...

Cost: $10 - $15

Where:
St. Paul Yacht Club
375 W Water St
St. Paul, MN  55107
View map »


Sponsor: Mississippi River Fund, Works Progress & the National Park Service
Telephone: 651-291-8164
Contact Name: Katie Nyberg
Website »

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Enter the halls of Casket Arts to encounter the work of 20+ artists working in paint, sculpture, light, fibers, and sound. A one night only event with several site specific...

Cost: Free

Where:
Casket Arts Carriage House
1707 Jefferson St Ne
Minneapolis, MN  55413
View map »

More information

The flipped classroom is an innovative method of teaching that allows for multimedia lessons and in-class exercises. Now you can “flip” your own classroom using familiar tools like...

Cost: Free

Where:
Microsoft Store - Mall of America
162 South Ave
Bloomington, MN
View map »

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The foundation of Jillian's country-esque, classically trained songwriter-style musicianship was built on northern Minnesta's Iron Range. Under the talented eye of Helina Pakola, who has...

Cost: 5

Where:
Mankato Brewery
1119 Center Street
, MN  56003
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Sponsor: Mankato Brewery
Website »

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One of the most highly sought-after skills in the workforce today is coding. In this workshop, we’ll show you how to create an app from a template, add content, and upload an app to the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Microsoft Store - Mall of America
Bloomington, MN

More information

Bryan Olds Band will be performing live at Big Sandy Lodge and Resort on Friday, July 3. The folk-rock blues band plays a variety of original songs, as well as covers, ranging from Pearl Jam to...

Cost: Check with venue for details.

Where:
Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
20534 487th Street
McGregor, MN  55760
View map »


Sponsor: Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
Telephone: 218-426-5040
Website »

More information

The 90’s alternative rock band – The Mallrats – will take the Amphitheater stage at Grand Casino Hinckley on Friday, July 3 at 8:30 p.m. Following the show will be a spectacular...

Cost: $10 general admission

Where:
Grand Casino Hinckley Amphitheater
777 Lady Luck Dr
Hinckley, MN  55037
View map »


Website »

More information

Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill Presents Award Winning Vocalist Patty Peterson & Friends with Special Guest Melanie Rosales Friday, July 3, 2015 - 9:30pm 761 Washington Avenue N,...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Bunker's Music Bar and Grill
761 Washington Ave N
#325
Minneapolis, MN  55401
View map »


Sponsor: Bunker's Music Bar and Grill
Telephone: 847-624-5087
Contact Name: Carrie Miller
Website »

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It’s almost that special time of year again, where you pull out your flag, grab your lawn chair, and put on that sunscreen…the 68th annual Saint Anthony Park 4th of July Parade and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Saint Anthony Park/Langford Park
Saint Paul, MN  55108


Sponsor: 4th In The Park Committee & The Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation
Telephone: 651-343-7365
Contact Name: Josh Becerra, Jeanne Hansen, & Emma Seeley
Website »

More information

Mystic Lake’s Rock and Rockets Fourth of July Celebration returns this year with another spectacular fireworks display. The free, all-ages event will take place outside Mystic Lake beginning...

Cost: Free

Where:
Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
2400 Mystic Lake Blvd.
Prior Lake, MN  55372
View map »


Telephone: 952-496-7388
Website »

More information

Celebrate this Independence Day by watching fireworks light up the night sky over Big Sandy Lake. The event will take place at dusk, between Davis and Goff’s Bay, on the Fourth of July.

Cost: Free

Where:
Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
20534 487th Street
McGregor, MN  55760
View map »


Sponsor: Big Sandy Lodge and Resort
Telephone: 218-426-5040
Website »

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