Interior of Jake O'Connor's Public House


Pub Guide

All the Twin Cities pubs in one place.

197 Bar/Clubs found

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Sushi Tango

3001 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-822-7787

Tango is the type of place you go to meet people, a place where people know the chefs and servers by their first name and play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon with JD behind the bar. Once you sidle up for sushi, you’re automatically BFF with the rollicking chefs wielding shots along with the sashimi. Led by owner Teng “Tengo” Thao, the Sushi Tango crowd trends toward younger, hipper couples and groups grabbing a bite before or after hitting some other Uptown spots. For first timers, ordering a Demon Releaser (saki, quail egg, and an oyster) is the Asian equivalent to ziggy, zaggy, ziggy, zaggy, oi, oi, oi—and after taking down the shot, newbies have been know to, well, release a few demons before buying a batch for their unsuspecting neighbors. Continue Reading

Sweeny's Saloon and Café

96 N. Dale St., St. Paul, 651-221-9157

For 30 years Sweeney’s has been a popular watering hole for neighborhood folks in St. Paul looking for classic bar cuisine and a wide selection of beer. The 19th-century brick facade sets the tone for the saloon’s wooden booths and long narrow interior. When the weather cooperates, there's a large patio with it’s own full bar and a stone fireplace. If you prefer the hard stuff, try the ginger-infused Jameson they make onsite. And if it's munchies you're craving, try the killer nachos. Continue Reading

Terminal Bar

Terminal Bar

409 E. Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-623-4545

Everyone these days seems conflicted about Terminal Bar. The thumbnail history is that Terminal used to be a hangout for the old Northeast crowd, but then punks moved in, and the punks were eventually squeezed out by the new Northeast condo crowd. But the fact of the matter is that Terminal Bar is an everyman’s place that caters to an eclectic crowd and has bands most every night, featuring music of almost every kind. The Monday night open mic is particularly popular with the regulars, and the cover never runs much more than $5. The drink prices have gone up over the years, but then, Terminal wouldn’t be quite the same if there weren’t something to gripe about. Continue Reading

The Brass Rail

422 Hennepin Ave, Mpls., 612-333-3016

If male dancers and great drink specials are up your alley, then head to The Brass Rail Lounge in downtown Minneapolis. The interior was recently remodeled, upgrading the décor but maintaining the place's almost uncomfortable intimacy (again, the phrase "male dancer" is what makes the Brass Rail "experience" unique). The lighting is dim and the food menu isn't particularly imaginative, but the lounge offers nice VIP rooms, and you can’t go wrong with $3 domestics every day during happy hour. Continue Reading


The Bulldog

2549 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-872-8893

Open the heavy wooden doors open and it’s clear that The Bulldog has been around for a while. The Uptown Bulldog isn’t as hip as its Northeast sibling, but the no-nonsense atmosphere somehow makes it seem more authentic. Or maybe it’s because the faint scent of burning cigarettes is permanently embedded into the furniture, and the dim glow of neon beer signs unlocks a Pavlovian response for bar food and brew, (the two main reasons to go here). The place is so down-to-earth that ordering a gin and tonic could sound pretentious. It would be silly, too, when the bar boasts such an impressive menu of high-end Belgian ales. Continue Reading


The Bulldog (Lowertown)

237 E. 6th St, St. Paul, 651-221-0750

The beer list is the big draw here, impressively long and full of import and local brews. You can even opt for a flight of beer to sample more than one. Perfectly located for a night of downtown bar-hopping, Bulldog has a neighborhood feel with a lively vibe, and if you manage to snag a table, the bar-food-gone-gourmet menu will give you a reason to stay. Pastrami, bratwurst with sauerkraut, and burgers topped with Stilton cheese and roasted garlic—all make a fine meal, whether it’s en route to another bar or the main event. Continue Reading


The Bulldog NE

401 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-378-2855

Always bustling on weeknights and weekends, The Bulldog NE is a high-class sports bar, serving up mouthwatering burgers, tempting Tater Tots, and a great selection of beer and specialty drinks. With several flat-screen TVs and plenty of hightop tables, this neighborhood haunt is the place to go in Nordeast for watching the big game (if you don't mind a somewhat noisy crowd). Continue Reading


The Butcher Block

308 Hennepin Ave. E., Minneapolis, 612-455-1080

It used to be Fugaise, so it would be easy think you’ve come to the wrong place for a cheap drink and a heaping plate of chicken wings. Never fear, this is it. No fewer than 29 flavors of wings grace the menu ranging from a traditional Frank’s Red Hot to the White Trash wing smothered in mashed potatoes, slow-roasted pork, and topped off with crunchy potato chips, or sweeter glazes like the Blackberry Red Wine or Maple Brown Sugar. Authentic Italian fare and grass-fed, sustainable meats make this a great choice for an intimate date night or celebratory dinner. The real kicker is that this place is open ‘til the wee hours of 4 a.m. with food for the post-bar crowd. Continue Reading

The Cabooze

917 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-338-6425

Anyone who attended the University of Minnesota in the last 30 years knows this West Bank landmark—open since 1974—which packs in fans of modern rock, American roots, jam, hip-hop, and other genres Wednesday through Sunday. While it never had a problem drawing in a music-loving crowd, the recent face lift and disappearance of indoor smoking has made the ‘Booze a more pleasant place to take in local music. Continue Reading

The Corner Bar

1501 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-3084

If the Corner Bar were a movie, it would be one of those recent National Lampoon stabs at remaking Animal House. All of the elements are there: Jag bombs and beer buckets; darts, a dance floor, and trivia nights; tacos, nachos, and pizza—everything but the spirit of novelty. Regardless, every college town needs a place where cheap beer and Free Taco Tuesdays aren’t just offered, they’re an institution. Continue Reading

The Freight House

305 S. Water St., Stillwater, 651-439-5718

Nestled on the St. Croix riverbed in historic Stillwater, it’s long been a favorite spot among families for daytime eats, but The Freight House also boasts an evening happy hour with cheap drinks and appetizers, a picturesque deck (the perfect setting for sipping a beer in summer months), a gazebo bar, and a fun late-night atmosphere. The building was originally slated as a freight depot in 1883 and is now recognized on the National Registry of Historic Places. Historic black-and-white images and wooden-plank floors give the interior a nostalgic charm, but it’s the outdoor view that really draws the crowd. Continue Reading

The Gay 90s

408 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-333-7755

Wait, is it still the 90s? I've spent so much time dancing to trance-induncing techno at the 90s I've lost all sense of time. The largest GLBT complex in the upper Midwest, The 90s (yes, also known as The Gay 90s) is everyone-friendly. By far its busiest night is Sunday, when it’s 18+ and all three dance floors are packed. The two dance floors downstairs are polar opposites—one playing techno and the other pumping out rap hits. Head upstairs to the La Femme Lounge for the best drag show in the Cities, with performances Wednesday through Sunday. Hit the Retro Room upstairs to dance to everything from Britney to Madonna and then some. The six bars serve strong drinks, and get ready for a shock or two—you’ll see a little bit of everything here, whether you want to or not. Continue Reading

The Halftime Rec

The Halftime Rec

1013 Front Ave., St. Paul, 651-488-8245

Old-timers will tell you that the Halftime Rec, once the bar for live Irish music in the Twin Cities, lost some of its soul when it converted its back music room to a country-western theme. Others—namely those who like country music, blues, and bluegrass—will tell you the scene has never been better. Continue Reading

The Happy Gnome

498 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651-287-2018

With more than 72 beers on tap and over a 100 in the bottle, the Gnome's tap never runs dry. But it's not the booze that makes the Gnome one of Pig's Eye's hottest spots, it's that "everybody knows your name," feeling when you walk in the door. It's the buzz from the dining room, full of families, colleges students, and young professionals munching on game burgers, 21-day aged New York strip, and dark chocolate torte. It's the laid-back, welcoming vibe you get from the wait staff, whether ordering an imported beer or a good-old Miller. It's knowing that a Wild or Twins game will always be on the TV. And yeah, it's about that creepy little gnome. Continue Reading

The Hat Trick Lounge

134 E. 5th St., St. Paul, 651-228-1347

Located deep in the heart of downtown St. Paul—so deep that there isn’t much else going on around it—The Hat Trick Lounge is a no-frills watering hole catering to the hockey and slow-pitch softball set. On Friday and Saturday nights, however, one of the place’s neatest “tricks” is that it books some surprisingly good local music acts in a variety of genres, from blues, funk, soul, R & B and psychadelia to bluegrass, Texas swing, and the occasional acoustic fingerpicker or guitar-strumming troubadour. The beer selection leans toward the cheap and watery, and the food is either fried or grilled, but the vibe is friendly and there’s always a game to watch. Continue Reading

The Herkimer Pub & Brewery

2922 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-821-0101

What's not to love about a real bar, with deep dark booths, that serves its own beer and offers miniburgers to boot. And by "brews their own beer," we mean "brews super good beers that run the gamut from light to dark so don't be the jerk who tries to order a Coors Light." Continue Reading

The Imperial Room

The Imperial Room

417 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 612-376-7676

With its faux-marble bar up front and goofy, cubistic paintings hanging above the faux-leather sofas in back, The Imperial Room caters to a more relaxed Warehouse District crowd than its rump-bumping neighbors. Nevertheless, when DJs play, the tiny dance floor fills up. The upstairs lounge, which opens on Tuesdays and weekends, offers more sofas and a pleasant, almost-chic environment that’s nice for meeting new people. Frequent drink specials make the Imperial one of the best deals in town for a faux-classy night out. Continue Reading

The Library Bar and Grill

The Library Bar and Grill

1301 4th Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-604-1900

There’s some irony in the name, because The Library is the watering hole in Dinkytown for students who would rather party than study. Frat guys and sorority girls alike love this place for mingling. The dark wood floor and bar give the Library a bit of a north-woods feel. The large, open bar downstairs and a smaller bar upstairs are often packed three rows deep with people waiting for drinks. The music is loud, but there is no official dance floor—unless you head downstairs, but this area isn’t nearly as popular as the two upper levels. And, of course, several large TVs allow you to see how the Gophers did on any given night. Continue Reading

The Liffey

The Liffey

175 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-556-1420

Step into downtown St. Paul’s The Liffey, Kieran Folliard’s pub named after an Irish river, and absorb the authentic Irish spirit. The interior comes straight from “back home,” with a 100-year-old wood floor salvaged from Irish buildings, Irish-handcrafted woodwork and painted glass, and horseshoe-shaped bar. Snug booths and hightop tables make the place perfect for toasting friends, or a date, with Jameson or Guinness. On weekends, bands such as the Saint Dominic’s Trio and Wild Colonial Bhoys serenade the crowd—patrons hear U2 and Van Morrison, as well as the tin whistle. The beautiful terrace is open May through October, weather permitting, and happy hour is more accurately called happy hours—specials run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Liffey’s not just for the Irish, and not just on St. Patrick’s Day, luckily. Continue Reading

The Living Room

9th & Marquette, Mpls., 612-597-2413

It may seem a little odd to have a club in the middle of a hotel lobby, but at the W, that's nothing. Head over to the Foshay Tower's main entrance to get a direct view of the Minneapolis club scene. You'll feel out of place if you aren't dressed to impress. That means suits and ties for men, and short dresses and pumps for the ladies. Roam around the designated area to find the modern bar, hanging crystal beads, and numerous lounges throughout. This is not your average hotel lobby—it’s way, way above average. Continue Reading

The Local

The Local

931 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-904-1000

For four years running, The Local has poured the largest volume of Jameson Irish Whiskey in the world. If that doesn't tell you what kind of fun you'll have at this downtown Irish pub, we don't know what will! Head there for happy hour and you'll find numerous young professionals (ahem, Target employees) enjoying the carved wooden scenery and a nice, refreshing pint. During the summer, the outdoor patio is a prime people-watching spot, so getting a seat can be a challenge. Those with patience will however be rewarded. Continue Reading

The Loop

The Loop

606 Washington Ave. N., Ste. 100, Mpls., 612-340-0010

Yeah, the guy with the faux hawk and designer jeans is watching you dance. But you're checking out the well-groomed guy behind him, who—unfortunately—is more interested in watching the miniskirt-clad twentysomething by the bar. But it's OK. You couldn't possibly start a conversation over the DJ's pounding mix of top-40 hits anyway. So you keep moving along to the pulse of the overcrowded floor and just dance—that's why you're at The Loop in the first place. Continue Reading


The Lyndale Tap House

2937 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-825-6150

One of the latest additions to the neighborhood, it’s already a favorite among jocks and hipsters alike. Teeming with a “down home” feel, pair a brew with the restaurant’s specialty: Baltimore-style pit meat. Pinup-style portraits of women with livestock on a central Minnesota farm cover the dark wooden walls. Continue Reading

The Muddy PIg

The Muddy Pig

162 Dale St., St. Paul, 651-254-1030

If you’re looking for a place to catch the game, break the ice on a first date, or simply have a beer with some friends, the Muddy Pig has got you covered. This Selby-Dale mainstay teams with locals, boasts one of the largest craft-beer menus you’ll ever flip the pages of, and it has some decent food too. The service can lag sometimes—but don’t cross the Pig off your list for it. Go, relax, drink, enjoy—in an all-purpose establishment that appeals to just about everyone. Continue Reading


The News Room

990 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-343-0073

A great place for a quick drink with your coworkers, this newspaper-inspired restaurant is one of the best-decorated downtown spots. The walls are covered with blown-up black and white news articles, and each room is organized by section (Business, Sports, Entertainment, etc.). Select tabletops hold old wooden-type letters, and the center bar is constructed to look like an old ship, complete with a newspaper-reading mermaid at the front. With a wide selection of beers, wines, and appetizers, it's no surprise that happy hour is usually hopping. Stay for dinner and choose from a full menu of pastas, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Continue Reading