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.
“Jedzcie pijcie i popuszczajcie pas.” For those who don’t speak Polish, the motto at Nye’s Polonaise Room may seem complex, but its translation is simple: “Eat, drink, and loosen your belt.” In fact, expansion has been the running theme at Nye’s since it set its roots back in the '40s. By 1964 Nye's original form, a bar, provided owner Al Nye with the funds necessary to purchase the space next door. Though he added a dining room, the bar's original features—gold-flecked booths, dark paneling, a curved piano bar, and a portrait of Chopin—remain, creating a vintage and homey feel.
Nye’s lengthy menu dishes up Polish classics, such as cabbage rolls and pierogi, as well as hearty 14-ounce new york strip steaks, cold-water lobster tail, and aged, bone-in, slow-roasted prime rib. Specialty martinis and the eatery’s inherent ambience make it a cozy place to talk, much like a candlelit phone booth. Nye’s also curates a full wine menu with pours from California, Spain, and Australia. All these ingredients come together to create a restaurant that's distinct and locally lauded, earning it a feature on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
Hailed by StarTribune writer Tom Horgen as “two guys who know their beer,” Mark van Wie and Paul Schatz have worked for the last decade to put their pub The Muddy Pig on the maps of local and international beer connoisseurs. At their second venture, The Pig & Fiddle, they have raised the bar even higher with 36 beers on draft—including a slew of Belgian-style brews—to go with chef Stephanie Kochlin’s menu of European-inspired pub fare.
Each day from 4:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m., Chef Kochlin prepares hearty dinner entrees using recipes gathered from rustic European locales and cooking oils derived from melted Renaissance paintings. Along with artisanal cheeses, house-prepared meats, and boiled pierogi, the kitchen specializes in European pasties—pouch-shaped pies filled with roasted lamb and house-made pickles. Aside from the nightly dinner menu, The Pig & Fiddle frequently curates events such as special dinners with course-by-course beer pairings.
In the shapes of fruit, forest creatures, and frothing pint glasses, tap handles at Stanley's Northeast Bar Room stand out against the brick walls. The ranks of colorful silhouettes hint at the varied flavors of the 30 rotating draft beers, which may include Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere crafted with fresh New Zealand hops or New Belgium cocoa mole ale with guajillo and ancho peppers. Bottles click together, releasing foamy tears of brew from Deschutes, Flying Dog, Chimay, and Ommegang and punctuating the bustle of tastings and the murmur of dinner conversation. The menu complements the beer list with half-pound burgers such as the Hangover Cure, which is topped with an egg, bacon, and gouda cheese. In the kitchen, chefs also cloak walleye fillets in beer batter and parmesan, and simmer a sauce of beer and cheese for mac ‘n’ cheese. Stanley’s food truck rolls around town, serving a variety of barbecue and tacos to pedestrians and robots stuck in “jog perpetually” mode.