Interior of Jake O'Connor's Public House

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Pub Guide

All the Twin Cities pubs in one place.

68 Bar/Clubs found

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Grumpy's Bar

Grumpy's Bar Downtown

1111 Washington Ave. S., Mpls., 612-340-9738

This Washington Avenue haunt is much like its infamous menu item, the Mac N Cheese Bites: at first, you’re not quite sure what you’re going to get. (How exactly do they get the heterogeneous mixture into perfect little bites?) The crowd is a mix of bikers and pre- and post-game Mauer-jersey–clad Twins fans and Purple People Eaters. The décor is somewhat retro, somewhat divey, with neon beer signs at every turn. But with the oddly jovial staff, full bar, heaping baskets of tater tots, and adjacent karaoke joint, the place grows on you—and the Mac N Cheese Bites are killer. Continue Reading

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Hell's Kitchen

80 9th St. South, Mpls., 612-332-4700

Walking into Hell’s Kitchen, you do feel as though you are underground, because you are—but don’t fret, the atmosphere is friendly. Black is the dominant color here, but there are lively Ralph Steadman drawings on the wall to liven the place up. There is free live music most evenings, and late night shows Thursday-Saturday. Breakfast and late-night dining are where Hell's Kitchen shines. In fact, you can get both on the excellent late-night food menu: the late-night American breakfast and monster caramel roll are favorites. Continue Reading

Honey

Honey

205 E. Hennepin Ave, Mpls., 612-746-0306

The smells coming from upstairs at the Asian fusion eatery Ginger Hop are alluring, but the cavalcade of sexy coming from its neighbor below is even more tempting. An underground bar in the vein of hip New York City dance clubs, Honey’s chic, candle-lit lounge is a great place for a first date, a chance encounter, a secret affair, or any other romantic excursion you can think of. Some of the Twin Cities' finest jazz musicians and chanteuses play here, but check the music calendar, because they often start cranking hip-hop and club music after 10 p.m. Continue Reading

James Ballentine VFW 246

2916 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-823-6233

You won’t find a more mixed crowd than the one at the Uptown VFW. But if you’re strapped for cash and craving a way to unwind, karaoke at the VFW—Thursday through Sunday nights—is a surefire way to have fun on the cheap. The secret is out, though, so get there early to secure a table. Continue Reading

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Jax Café

1928 University Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-789-7297

One of the oldest bar/restaurants in Minnesota, this classic Midwestern steakhouse has been serving Twin Citians for more than 75 years. The knowledgeable bar staff mix fantastic drinks and the stained-glass windows and wood-paneled walls provide a warm old-world feel. There is ample bar seating, as well as comfortable booths and tables. When the weather allows it, their outdoor patio is complete with a fireplace and running streams. Continue Reading

Keegan's Irish Pub

16 University Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-252-0880

You don't have to fly to Ireland for an authentic pub experience. 
You don't have to fly to Ireland for an authentic pub experience. With a bar that was constructed in (and transported from) the Irish homeland, a wide selection of Irish brews, whiskeys, and grub, plus the presence of live Irish music, Keegan's is a great spot to find true pub culture. In fact, it's the only Irish Pub Concept (IPC) pub in the state, a guideline developed by Guinness Brewing Company. Keegan's also features twice-a-week trivia games and late-night weekend breakfasts. Continue Reading

Kieran's

Kieran's

600 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-339-4499

One thing's for sure: you'll always feel welcome at this lively downtown bar. Serving up Irish favorites such as Guinness, Jameson, Harp, and Finnegan's, plus a slew of specialty pints such as Black and Tans (Guinness and Smithwicks) and Snakebites (Harp and Cider), Kieran's may be one of the best pubs in the Cities. Need something to munch on with your Guinness? Try some corned beef and cabbage, a shepherd's pie, or Kieran's "world famous" fish and chips. The Irish menu is authentic and extensive. A hot spot during happy hour (the patio attracts a crowd in the summer) and on Vikings and Twins game days, Kieran's is also the place to be in Minneapolis when St. Patrick's Day rolls around. Continue Reading

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King's Wine Bar

4555 Grand Ave. South, Mpls., 612-354-7928

Nestled in the Kingfield neighborhood, one of King’s biggest draws is that it features happy hour everyday from 3 to 6 p.m. The dark wood interior and white Ikea furniture make for a clean, almost antiseptic atmosphere, but you won’t be disappointed with their carefully chosen craft beers and lengthy wine list. Plenty of local brews are on tap, as well as some interesting international brews, and the wine list is quite lengthy and sophisticated. If you want to know more about the wine you're about to order, whip out your phone and check their website: all their wine offerings are explained there in impressive detail. Surprisingly, they also have a great selection of sakes. Continue Reading

Kip's Irish Pub

Kip's Irish Pub

9970 Wayzata Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-367-5070

Kip’s wanted authenticity—so they had their interior built in Dublin, disassembled, shipped over, and reassembled by four Irishmen and one Irishwoman. The results are several beautiful rooms of wood and stone, adorned with whiskey barrels, a hand-painted ceiling map of Ireland, and, above the bar, a large copper keeve of the sort used for brewing spirits. As Kip’s sits adjacent to the Marriott in St. Louis Park, its clientele is about half hotel guests and half anyone interested in sipping some Jameson or Smithwick’s in a hospitable setting, especially during the twice-nightly happy hours or when live music’s playing. Continue Reading

Kitty Cat Klub

Kitty Cat Klub

315 14th Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-331-9800

Dinkytown is synonymous with beer specials and wings, not hip, sprawling lounges, the likes of which you really only see when venturing as far west as the sea. So when you're at Kitty Cat, order a Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale, a twenty-two-ounce Sapporo, or a PBR in a can, along with an infamous burger—imported from the upstairs Annie's Parlor—and take note of the bohemia-meets-Montmarte décor, with dusty framed paintings, mobile lighting, and exposed stone infrastructure. You'll be equally taken in by the groove of the interconnecting spaces as by the connection going on between bohemian college kids soaking up the free Wi-Fi and BMW-driving boomers scattered about in singles, pairs, and groups. And when the live music—based on the night, it could be jazz, acoustic, rock, electronic, even rockabilly—begins on the café stage nightly, take a cue, kick back, and try a Delirium Tremens or Chimay for a change of beer pace. Continue Reading

Lee's Liquor Lounge

101 Glenwood Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-9491

Cheap retro at its best, Lee’s offers lots of bang for your buck, with free live, local country, rockabilly, and pop bands Monday through Thursday and cheap covers—and beer—on weekends. Oh, and a GLBT barn dance every Sunday. Continue Reading

Loring Pasta Bar

Loring Pasta Bar

327 14th Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-378-4849

The Loring Pasta Bar is both a great place to eat and, as the evening unwinds, an even better place to drink fine wine, listen to music, and dance until your feet are numb. The Loring feels like an extremely cool Italian bistro run by an eccentric genius, and the food is as creative as the décor. It has the most interesting bathrooms in town as well, so be sure to excuse yourself at least once and have a look at what a little imagination and taste can do. Continue Reading

Mario's Keller Bar at Gasthof

2300 University Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-781- 3860

If your definition of charm isn’t sausage-eating men in lederhosen or yodeling blondes in dirndl, check your coat at the door of Gastof's and head downstairs. Mario’s Keller Bar, in the basement of Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit, serves up an array of southern German beer staples by the half liter, liter, or two-liter “boot.” This is the only place in town where you can pop a snuff board, drink from a boot, and swig apple schnapps while dancing to polka in the early evening and hard, sometimes very alternative rock after midnight. Continue Reading

Mayslack's

1428 NE 4th St., Mpls., 612-789-9862

A dive bar is a dive bar is a dive bar, unless it’s Mayslack’s. In 1955, former professional wrestler Stan Myslajek started serving what has become the establishment’s legendary roast beef sandwich. If the taste doesn’t do it for you, then you’ll be satisfied with what lifting it can do for your physique. Take your friends and disappear into one of the many cavernous wooden booths, or come for the meat raffles every Wednesday and Saturday. A popular hangout for young, irony-tinged Northeast locals, Mayslack’s turns its small stage over to area musicians on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—often with a cover—and trivia every Wednesday. Continue Reading

Minnesota Music Cafe

499 Payne Ave., St. Paul, 651-776-4699

Your blues and soul headquarters. This venue, decked out with Minnesota music memorabilia, hosts performances seven nights a week. Continue Reading

Moscow on the Hill

Moscow on the Hill

371 Selby Ave, St. Paul, 651-291-1236

Nostalgic for the Old Country? Located in the shadow of the elegant St. Paul Cathedral, Moscow on the Hill offers all the best of Eastern European dining: borscht, vareniki, caviar, and, of course, crisp, smooth vodkas to lighten the meal in a lively atmosphere (don’t miss the accordion music on Friday and Saturday night). Head to the funky, eclectically outfitted lounge side for a drink. Try their house-recipe, horseradish-infused vodka distilled in Wisconsin, but don’t be surprised to find yourself tempted by the food. Continue Reading

Nomad World Pub

501 Cedar Ave. S, Mpls., 612-338-6424

Man’s best friend deserves a night out too. And the laid-back folks at Nomad welcome you and your (leashed) dogs any night. The scene varies from night to night, depending on the musical act, but it doesn’t stray too far from its hippie-organic, soccer-appreciating, bocce ball-playing soul. A lot of good vibrations and sincere, save-the-world sentiments get expressed here, to knowing nods. So leash up the dog, throw on your soccer jersey, and try some beer from their long list of options. Continue Reading

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Northeast Social

359 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612-877-8111

Settling into a seat at the Northeast Social feels like settling into an old leather chair: comfortable, classic, and inviting. The dark green hues, low lights, distorted portraits on the wall, clean interior and low-key-yet-classy atmosphere make the place feel like a contemporary hideout for the Victorian crowd. The Northeast Social lives up to its name, as it is a perfect place for an intimate evening with no distractions. Music pipes quietly out of the stereo, just enough to provide some background beats without ever overpowering the conversation. The patrons are a mix of ages and styles, and the friendly staff welcomes all. The menu offers a modest selection of seasonal, contemporary American dishes with European influences, making the Northeast ideal for a dinner date or appetizers and a drink. The Northeast serves quality beers and hard-to-find wines–no liquor–and for the teetotalers, there are Orangina and Mexican Coke (you know, the kind with real cane sugar) among other unusual and tasty selections. Continue Reading

Nye's Polonaise Room

Nye's Polonaise

112 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-379-2021

There is someone wandering the streets of Nordeast, holding a copy of Esquire's 2006 edition of Best Bars in America, looking for the beautiful, brightly emblazoned sign reading Nye's Polonaise, a holy marker of what a bar should be. This place, they expect, will change their lives. They'll find hope in a lackluster nightlife scene. They'll find originality among the cookie-cutter culture of clubs. But, of course, in reality they will find a half-supper club/half-dive-bar concoction where patrons of just about every age, make, and model ignore the Formica tables and flowered carpet for the sounds of Ruth Adams' Most Dangerous Polka Band. This person, Esquire in hand, will find themselves looking quizzically around the room, along with other first-time patrons, asking himself, "This is the infamous Nye's?" Yes, it is. In all of its kitschy glory. Enjoy. Continue Reading

O'Donovan's Irish Pub

700 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 612-317-8896

No need to hop on a plane to get a taste of the Irish life, feel like a true Celt at O’Donovan’s. Some eats are imported, like Glatee Black Pudding and Banger. But if the names alone scare you off, there’s still plenty of corned beef, salmon, and potato soup to please the crowds. Continue Reading

O'Gara's Bar and Grill

164 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-644-3333

When O’Gara’s opened in 1941, you could grab a pint of beer and get a haircut at the same time. The barbershop of Carl Schulz (father of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz) occupied what is now the game room at O’Gara’s. You can no longer get a buzz at O’Gara’s . . . well, OK, you can. You can’t get a trim, but if you like the idea of listening to live jazz, big band, or local music while sipping freshly brewed beer from the O’Gara’s Brew Pub, this is the place. Continue Reading

Otter Saloon

Otter's Saloon

617 Central Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-331-4169

Karaoke in a tiny neighborhood bar is a hazard—everyone just might know your name, so you can’t sink into relative obscurity after a particularly bad melody mangling—but it’s also a boon. After all, there’s plenty of moral support at the Otter because patrons know that by stepping through this Northeast bar’s doors on any given night, they’re going to hear a range of talent. It’s OK if you can’t find middle C. The audience might not be able to either—and they’ll love you anyway. Continue Reading

Palmer's Bar

500 Cedar Ave. S.,, Mpls., 612-333-7625

Thank goodness for Palmer’s. This misshapen, rough-around-the-edges West Bank staple hasn’t changed in decades, and we like it that way. Located in the Seven Corners neighborhood, Palmer’s welcomes all serious drinkers, from middle-aged Blues enthusiasts after a show at the Cedar next door, to the construction worker, to young, raucous U of M students blowing off steam. The bartenders don’t mince words, the drinks are strong, and the patio is a guaranteed good time, even in the winter. You can buy a pack of peanuts or a couple Slim Jims, but you’d be better off sticking to drinks and gossiping with the bartenders and eclectic cast of regulars. Continue Reading

Plum's Neighborhood Bar & Grille

480 Snelling Ave. S., St. Paul, 651-699-2227

A favorite hangout for the college crowd (St. Kate’s, Macalaster, and St. Thomas are all within a mile radius), Plum’s usually has a line flowing out the door on Thursdays through Saturdays when school is in session. Things slow down considerably in the summer, though the patio scene attracts its share of summer-schoolers. Saturdays are DJ night, and mainstream rock from various decades is usually the playlist of choice, but local rock bands play there occasionally as well. The décor features plenty of wood, a few booths, and mostly small bar tables. Burgers and sandwiches are available in all the familiar configurations, and the beer and drink selection is adequate to wash it all down, but not much more. Continue Reading

Republic at 7 Corners

221 Cedar Ave. S, Mpls., 612-338-6146

The rustic-chic atmosphere of Republic attracts the graduate and law-school set from the nearby university, as well as the theater and music crowd. And the food attracts pretty much everyone. Set inside a century-old brick building, Republic adds stained-glass windows featuring flowers of Canada and stuffed heads of bears, bucks, and moose to keep the place whimsical and masculine all at once. The menu steers clear of the furry creatures on the wall, offering instead a hip, substantial mix of burgers, mussels, fish tacos, and other gastro-pub standards. To fit in, pair your order up with a local beer and start discussing transactional law or postcolonial performance theory. Continue Reading