In a series of black and white portraits that pop against the backdrop of rich burgundy walls, smiling farm workers stationed around the world stand amid their crops, tools in hand. The photographs are the first hint at Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café's mission to link ingredients back to their source. The second hint is the menu, which boasts a roster of local farms: the ham comes from Fischer Farm, the chicken sausage from Schultz Farm, and the bison from Eichtens Family Farm. Chefs spotlight these free-range meats in wholesome burgers, wraps, and salads, which they enhance with fresh, organic veggies and housemade sauces. To complement meals, the café boasts a beer menu filled with choices from local breweries such as the limited-supply Surly and Fulton. Additionally, its wine selection runneth over with biodynamic, organic, and sustainable varietals, which are tastier than their unsustainable counterpart, unicorn tears.
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.
Since greasing its first lane in 1958, Lariat Lanes has spent the past half century serving its community with family-friendly bowling and entertainment. Located just a short distance from downtown Minneapolis, the pin-punishing emporium touts a lineup of 12 ultrasleek lanes that lend their surfaces to leagues, parties, and daily sessions of open bowling. Memorabilia adorns the alley's walls to create a timeline of storied collectibles, including keepsakes signed by the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, and the Beastie Boys. In between evading gutters and matchbox cars using the lanes as a drag strip, guests can refuel with hot dogs, wings, and nachos at the restaurant or sip sodas and beers in the bar, where local sports games illuminate TV screens.
The bustle of patrons and the action of vintage video games fill Chatterbox Pub, echoing against walls checkered with old paintings. Customers nestled atop overstuffed couches train their eyes on flickering screens filled with Atari, Nintendo, and Sega Genesis video game characters or board game pieces from Yahtzee or Connect Four.
Based on this casual, laid-back atmosphere, it might surprise guests to open the menu, which lists neither standard greasy pub fare nor a detailed treasure map to a VHS copy of The Road to El Dorado. Instead, its pages boast a wide range of artisanal pizzas, gourmet sandwiches, and steaks, along with a lengthy list of homemade desserts. Meals pair with pints of the pub’s own microbrewed draft beers, wines, and a wide range of specialty cocktails that wet whistles during sporting events, karaoke, open mics, and bingo competitions held throughout the week.
Poor Richard’s Commonhouse pays homage to the tavern's role in American history by summoning locals for conversation, drinks, and a menu of pub fare. Diners can begin meals with Prince Edward Island mussels in Sam Adams dijon cream sauce ($10.99), then use racks of St. Louis–style ribs, basted to order with sweet barbecue sauce ($14.99 for half rack, $18.99 for full rack), to play tunes written for meat-encased xylophones. Sautéed shrimp and peppers deglazed with pepper-infused vodka add richness to Vodka Diablo, a pasta dish with linguini and spicy marinara ($16.99). The house chicken sandwich comes crowned with cheese, thick-cut bacon, and zesty sriracha mayonnaise ($8.99). Diners can sip one of the daily draft-beer specials while cheering on favorite quarterbacks or referees on HDTVs.
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.
Over the last 50 years, The Park Tavern has perfected the convivial trifecta of eating, drinking, and bowling. A menu of gourmet burgers and traditional pub fare mingles with a drink menu of domestic and imported beers and wines for between-frame refueling. On Mondays, the alley fills with high-energy tunes, and bowling balls careen all night during the $5 all-you-can-bowl nights. The Park Tavern rolls out its varied bowling buffets for corporate events, birthday parties, or the anniversary of the end of bowling prohibition during the Nixon administration.