Steel Toe Brewery's founder was a home brewer, fermenting beer in his bedroom overnight, until the gurgling sounds of the carboy began to disturb his wife's sleep. Origin stories like these are just one of the attractions of Taproom Tours' brewery tours, which also explore the Belgian yeast of Boom Island Brewing, celebrate session ales at 612 Brew, and enable sud savoring in the wood-paneled taproom at Indeed Brewing Company. Visitors taste sample brews at each location, and, helped along by a knowledgeable guide, explore the breweries' inner workings until they have learned every yeast strain's first name and favorite sports team.
The year 1927 saw Babe Ruth’s Yankees dominate pro baseball and the precursor to Big Louie's Bar and Grill—Main Street Tavern—open in Minneapolis. In addition to depicting athletes from that bygone era, the Big Louie’s menu catalogs an array of traditional American bar and grill fare. From boneless wings to fish ‘n’ chips, the cuisine roster has even more depth than the famed Yankees lineup of ’27. The restaurant further establishes its entertainment value by hosting karaoke and bingo and by not allowing recitations of real-estate-law books.
In 1960, James Welsch's grandfather purchased a then 56-year-old tavern, breathing new life to an old establishment and kicking off what would be a longstanding staple in the Arden Hills community, Three Welsch generations later, the eatery—now more than a century old—still dishes up a menu of comfort food ranging from housemade pizzas to open-faced meatloaf sandwiches. In addition to serving up drinks at the bar, the establishment regularly hosts live comedy events, including improv-style readings of the daily specials.
Mirage Bar and Grill divides its confines to house a restaurant, bar, and club for nights out on the town. Even the kitchen splits its menu between American, Mexican, and Vietnamese cuisines, with such dishes as tacos topped with mango salsa and burgers smothered in cheese. On select nights, the bar and club entertain guests with a live DJ spinning tunes,dancing, karaoke, and games of bingo so guests don't spend their evenings playing monotonous rounds of I Spy.
Wayfarers recline among plush furnishings and soothing décor while inhaling the pleasant vapors of The Hookah Hideout's 50 shisha flavors. Pack pipes with exotic tastes including strawberry, coconut, or chocolate mint before turning attention to action unfolding across the lounge’s myriad in-house board games. Split a single flavor between two people ($20), or call in a second hookah for a tasty combination ($25) and admire the room’s tastefully dimmed lighting or debate the etymological origins of the word “Yahtzee.” As patrons puff, the lounge’s wait staff ventures from table to table with menus of bottomless gourmet coffee ($4), and vending machines dispense hunger-busting snacks.
Metal fences extend above a brushed metal bar, where platforms hold custom hogs––motorcycles decked out with flames and thick, silver rims. If the bikes don't paint a picture, how about staggered biker signs dangling from the rafters, or a homestyle menu of flame-kissed favorites? Fatboys was formed in 2004 as a place for bikers to compare tattoos and crochet helmet cozies, but as time passed, a more diverse clientele began streaming in for the food and ambiance.
Amid neon signs and the clack of pool balls, black lacquered tables populate with golden-fried apps, meaty sandwiches, and the signature Fatboy burger––a full-pound of USDA Choice beef with three kinds of cheese and four strips of bacon. Warm weather triggers the opening of an enormous V-twin patio, where patrons can sip a brew while watching barbecue-slathered ribs slide right off the bone.
In addition to supporting charitable organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Fatboys hosts events such as karaoke, live music, and the Biker Babe Bike Wash, which allows bikers and rebellious chariot drivers to have their wheels shined to a pristine sheen.