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.
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.
Acqua-Forest Lake's passionate clientele like to spread the word about their favorite eatery, and their word-of-mouth reviews culminated in three OpenTable Diners’ Choice Awards for best ambiance, Italian food, and view. Tucked into the northern shore of Forest Lake, this restaurant allows patrons to stare out at blue waters and lush tree lines punctuated by the occasional sasquatch as they feast on Executive Chef Chris Whalen’s upscale Italian cuisine. Whalen twirls spaghetti around sautéed tiger shrimp and pairs broiled cold-water-lobster tail with truffle risotto and clarified butter. His shareable dishes include pizza with Calabrese Italian Sausage and fresh mussels sautéed in garlic, parsley, and cream.
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.