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The Forty-Four Best Bars

Our favorite Twin Cities spots for craft cocktails, brown booze, and wines that warm your night.

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Wings from St. Paul's :DSpot

:D-SPOT

7129 10th St. N., Maplewood, 651-730-7768

It's the little wings joint that could. Chef Darin Koch has more than 85 flavors of wings on his menu, running from pesto to ginger, from curry to Fruity Pebbles. There's also a righteous burger menu. Continue Reading

$$ | American, Burgers |

A glass of Prosecco on the bar at 112 Eatery in Minneapolis

112 Eatery

112 N. 3rd St., Mpls., 612-343-7696

This small, chic eatery is the perfect setting for James Beard award-winning chef Isaac Becker's upscale take on a neighborhood restaurant. 112 is a sophisticated spot serving bold food with modern approach. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

128 Café

128 Cafe

128 Cleveland Ave. N., St. Paul, 651-645-4128

Max Thompson has breathed new life into this old familiar basement eatery by giving it a fresh, cheffy eye. You can still find the legendary ribs, but also try some braised beef cheeks, barbacoa tamales, or anything hit with housemade Twang hot sauce. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

3 Squares

12690 Arbor Lakes Pkwy., Maple Grove, 763-425-3330

Blue Plate's suburban version of the urban diner is big on comfort food, craft beer, and a stylish atmosphere with family-friendly vibes. It's a nice local option in a sea of chains. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

318 Cafe

318 Cafe

318 Water St., Excelsior, 952-401-7902

Excelsior has a place where hipster parents can remember the good old days. At 318, they can escape their homes and cram into a cozy coffeehouse/wine bar for some great live music and scratch-made soups, sandwiches, and appetizers. Continue Reading

$$ | American, Wine Bar |

4Bells

1610 Harmon Place, Mpls., 612-904-1163

The former Joe's Garage is busy with the Loring Park set dipping in for fried chicken, oysters, and low-country cocktails. The rooftop is year-round with great views. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

508 Bar + Restaurant

508 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 612-339-0036

Mostly thought of as one of the popular watering holes of First Avenue, this one has a menu that tries a little harder. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

Cakes and a pie at 50's Grill in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

50's Grill

5524 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Center, 763-560-4947

Fifties feel, right down to the poodle skirts and living room-style lobby. Old-fashioned dinners include homemade meatloaf, chicken pot pie, and roast turkey, plus amazing homemade pies and cakes. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

5120 Restaurant & Onyx Bar

Country Inn & Suites, 5120 American Blvd. W., Bloomington, 952-698-4864

This independently owned restaurant in a suburban hotel has some interesting touches to the menu. Continue Reading

$$ | American |

5-8 Club

5-8 Club

5800 Cedar Ave. S., Mpls., 612-823-5858

The 5-8 claims the original Juicy Lucy but also offers a large list of specialty burgers, including the saucier Saucy Sally, and basket dinners that are always served with friendliness and efficiency. Continue Reading

$ | American, Burgers |

5-8 Club

5-8 Tavern & Grill

6251 Douglas Ct. N., Champlin, 763-425-5858

The 5-8 claims the original Juicy Lucy but also offers a large list of specialty burgers, including the saucier Saucy Sally, and basket dinners that are always served with friendliness and efficiency. Continue Reading

$ | American, Burgers |

5-8 Club

5-8 Tavern & Grill

2289 Minnehaha Ave. E., Maplewood, 651-735-5858

The 5-8 claims the original Juicy Lucy but also offers a large list of specialty burgers, including the saucier Saucy Sally, and basket dinners that are always served with friendliness and efficiency. Continue Reading

$ | American, Burgers |

6 Smith restaurant in Wayzata | Photo by Caitlin Abrams

6 Smith

294 Grove Ln. E., Wayzata, 952-698-7900

In a sleek, urban restaurant on Lake Minnetonka, you'll find some of the best steaks and cocktails on the lake. Summer brings a stellar roofdeck patio/bar and boat-up options. Continue Reading

$$$ | Seafood, Steak |

A burger and stacked onion rings at 7th Street Social in St. Paul

7th Street Social

2176 W. 7th St., St. Paul, 651-330-4688

West 7th has its own modern supperclub that's big on hospitality, freshly poured drinks, and hearty plates stacked with onion rings, pastrami Reubens, and dark beer pot roast. Continue Reading

$$ | American, Burgers |

98 Pounds Buffet

98 Pounds Buffet

824 W. 98th St., Bloomington, 952-881-1088

This buffet restaurant packs a one-two punch: steamer tables full of hot Chinese food, with nearly every dish you can think of, and cold tables stacked with fat sushi rolls. It's an all-you-can-eat feast, so adjust your quality meters accordingly. Continue Reading

$$ | Chinese, Japanese |

Cake donut from A Baker's Wife in South Minneapolis, MN

A Baker's Wife

4200 28th Ave. S., Mpls., 612-729-6898

This humble south Minneapolis bakery is known for great breads and awesome donuts. Continue Reading

$ | Bakery |

A La Salsa

Midtown Global Market, Mpls., 612-872-4140

The MGM is home to this full-service casual Mexican eatery, which shares many dishes with sister restaurant Salsa a la Salsa. Continue Reading

$$ | Mexican |

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Acqua

4453 Lake Ave. S., White Bear Lake, 651-407-7317

The first Acqua sits on the shores of White Bear Lake with a great deck; the second overlooks Forest Lake. The rustic Italian menu, sophisticated plating, and upscale setting court many local fans. Continue Reading

$$$$ | Italian |

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Acqua

8241 North Shore Tr. N., Forest Lake, 651-464-6130

The first Acqua sits on the shores of White Bear Lake with a great deck; the second overlooks Forest Lake. The rustic Italian menu, sophisticated plating, and upscale setting court many local fans. Continue Reading

$$$ | Italian |

Adele's Frozen Custard

800 Excelsior Blvd., Excelsior, 952-470-0035

Adele's is the premier frozen custard site in the western 'burbs. Every batch of creamy goodness is made daily onsite; just check the online flavor calendar to plan your visit. It also serves hot dogs and sandwiches, which can be eaten quickly. Continue Reading

$ | Burgers, Ice Cream |

Afro Deli

5 W. 7th Pl., St. Paul, 651-888-2168

Now both Minneapolis and St. Paul can enjoy Afro's delicious falafel and sambusas. Also hard-to-find KEKE African noodles and Chicken Fantastic over Somali rice. Continue Reading

$ | African, Middle Eastern |

Afro Deli

1939 S. 5th St., Mpls., 612-871-5555

Now both Minneapolis and St. Paul can enjoy Afro's delicious falafel and sambusas. Also hard-to-find KEKE African noodles and Chicken Fantastic over Somali rice. Continue Reading

$ | African, Middle Eastern |

Afton House Inn

3291 St. Croix Tr. S., Afton, 651-436-8883

In a historic building on the St. Croix, the Afton House Inn gives you many options: American classic fine dining in the Wheel Room, modern casual at Current, even light snacks and vino at Swirl Wine Bar. Continue Reading

$$$ | American |

Salads and juices at Agra Culture Kitchen & Press | Photo by Caitlin Abrams

Agra Culture Kitchen & Press

2939 Girard Ave. S., Mpls., 612-315-3349

Farm-fresh food on the quick, from hearty breakfasts and fresh-pressed juices all the way up to dinner entrees, customized according to diet: dairy-free, gluten-free, even paleo-friendly. It makes healthy taste good. Continue Reading

$$ | American, Veg-Friendly |

Interior of Agra Culture Kitchen & Press Edina | Photo by Caitlin Abrams

Agra Culture Kitchen & Press

3717 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-345-5442

Farm-fresh food on the quick, from hearty breakfasts and fresh-pressed juices all the way up to dinner entrees, customized according to diet: dairy-free, gluten-free, even paleo-friendly. It makes healthy taste good. Continue Reading

$ | American, Veg-Friendly |