Interior of Jake O'Connor's Public House


Pub Guide

All the Twin Cities pubs in one place.

67 Bar/Clubs found

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900 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-338-0062

Enjoy plates of Chef Jorge Guzman's tapas with queso, grilled pork sausage, and beef pintxos at this Hennepin Theatre District art nouveau bar and the rooftop patio. Seemingly bereft of any sharp angles, the flowy design is ornamented with tile mosaic on the tables and the floor. And, if you do tire of undulating to whichever DJ is tucked away in the corner and need a late-night pit stop, you won't be forced to go to Block E. In the summer, don't miss the rooftop bar that hosts DJs, movies, and more. 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 Record Room

701 First Ave, Mpls., 612-332-1775

Prince’s Purple Rain helped make First Avenue the music icon it is today. In turn, the allure of First Ave. gave birth to a tiny punk club inside its walls known as the 7th Street Entry, which has since grown into an established, albeit cramped, venue consistently featuring up-and-coming acts from around the world. Lost in the shuffle, unfortunately, is its upstairs dance club, The Record Room. Formerly dubbed the VIP Room, The Record Room plays host to highly affordable dance shows that run the gamut from hip-hop to dubstep to drum ‘n bass to anything thing under the sun that gets your feet moving and your booty shaking. Continue Reading


The Red Sea

320 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-333-3349

Tired of just eating burgers with your beers? Sure, you can still get the typical chicken and fries meals at The Red Sea, but when there’s a selection of authentic African treats, why bother? Spicy, saucy meats and colorful vegetarian dishes complement the Ethiopian wines and beers. Or go for a classic domestic or imported beer for just $2.50 during Happy Hour. The music is about as varied as possible—from hip-hop to ethnic grooves—but the atmosphere is consistently comfortable and welcoming. Continue Reading


The Shout House

110 N. 5th St., Mpls., 612-337-6700

Dueling pianos take center stage at this raucous downtown bar where the drinks are big and the food is Southern tavern fare: chicken wings, shrimp and grits, po' boys and the like. Reservations are suggested, some nights there is a cover, and after the pianos start it's 21+. Continue Reading

Triple Rock Social Club

629 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-333-7499

The Triple Rock has to be the most sophisticated punk rock club in the lower forty-eight. Maybe it's because its co-owner, Dillinger Four guitarist Erik Funk, learned after years of touring that the creed of a punk rock club is a noble thing but playing, drinking, and eating in them can suck. So the T-Rock serves up great bar food (with good vegan and vegetarian options), the bartenders, fully sleeved with tats, are polite, and the place is clean. This is a punk bar you can feel comfortable popping into (even with nice clothes on), with no worry that someone might call you a square or beat you up. Nevertheless, both the bar and the venue are full of attitude. Continue Reading

Tuggs Tavern

219 SE Main St., Mpls., 612-379-4404

Young bargoers and college coeds venturing outside their Dinkytown haunts love Tuggs for its “beer rockets” (tabletop beer towers that dispense half a dozen glasses of brew), cheap starters, and weekday specials—not to mention the beautiful view of Minneapolis’s skyline and the sparkling Mississippi River. If a tower of beer doesn’t tickle your fancy, sample one of the refreshing Deckside Sippers, including a hand-squeezed lemonade drink that’s infused with fresh strawberries and Bicardi Limon. And during summer months, Tuggs offers the best seat in the house for St. Anthony Main’s Summer Music Series. Continue Reading

White Russian on the bar at the Clown Lounge in St. Paul

Turf Club

1601 University Ave., St. Paul, 651-647-0486

No matter how many cheap beers you've had, one look at the sweet face and permanently stocking-capped skull of Dave, the Clown Lounge bartender, and you know you're going to make it up those stairs, out of this place, alive. Continue Reading

Varsity Theater

Varsity Theater

1308 SE 4th St., Mpls., 612-604-0222

While other clubs in the city might consistently book better-known acts, the Varsity nabs the occasional big show—Icona Pop, The Bravery, Regina Spektor—and is earning a well-deserved reputation for its increasingly prescient musical programming. Both classy and sweaty at the same time, you can dance the night away while a national DJ spins, or lounge comfortably over drinks listening to contemporary crooners. Some might be put off by Dinkytown location (too many students), but the Varsity crowd changes according to who is playing onstage, and shares a similar sensibility with neighboring sibling nightlife spot Loring Pasta Bar, which is owned and operated, very well, by the same people. Continue Reading


Vic's Dining and Restaurant

201 SE Main St., Mpls., 612-312-2000

Vic’s is the upscale answer to next door’s coed-heavy bar, Tuggs. Inside the riverfront locale, a sleek, curved bar serves up everything from beer to specialty martinis, plus wine off an always-expanding list. The kitchen cooks up steak, chops, salads, and pasta, but the best deals are found during happy hour on week nights: appetizers are just $5, while martinis and glasses of wine are $4. Local music favorites, with genres ranging from acoustic rock to gypsy jazz, perform inside Vic’s during winter months. And between June and August, live music can be enjoyed from high-top tables on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace. Continue Reading

Whiskey Junction

903 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-338-9550

Whiskey Junction offers a campier take on the biker-bar experience than its earnest neighbor, The Joint. Blues bands frequent its stage, at times requiring a cover to enter the large, open space lined on one side by booths and the other by the bar, while the adjacent room houses tables for chowing pizza. In 2007, new owners cleaned up the place and vowed to improve the service at this light-rail stopover for Harley owners who don’t necessarily live and die by the bike. Continue Reading