At Dive Bar & Grill, the rules are simple: the party goes late, flip-flops are permissible, and cowboy hats are always welcome. The sports bar and dance club fires up a group party each night with thumping DJ sets, group events, and VIP bottle service. Take a break from the action to scarf down sizzling bar treats from the kitchen, including tater-tot nachos, crinkle-cut fries, and burgers stuffed with fillings from mushroom and swiss to jalapeño bacon. The kitchen also serves breakfast dishes all day, and tosses wings in a choice of eight sauces, one for each nostril on Mount Rushmore.
When you walk into Kitty Cat Klub, you might feel like you're on the set of a modern remake of a Vincent Price movie. Candelabra-style chandeliers and colored spotlights illuminate gilded mirrors and huge tropical trees that look like they were imported straight from the Copacabana. During the day, college students sit on vintage-looking, mismatched velvet furniture with laptops open, trying desperately to classify the various plant species. After the sun goes down, live music or DJ-spun tunes resounds through the cozy den's exposed-brick walls.
To complement more than 20 types of beer or a glass of wine, housemade chili and chicken noodle soup warm insides, and burgers and sandwiches zip down from Annie's Parlor upstairs. Diners can also opt to sit on the outdoor patio, which is either warmed by the sun or a resident heat lamp.
Chorizo, chihuahua cheese, lemongrass, and bamboo shoots are equally at home in Señor Wong’s kitchen, where executive chef Cody Monson fills the menu with Asian Mexican fusion plates. Tacos topped with barbacoa or smoky black beans join entrees such as szechwan steak stir-fry served with jasmine rice. Señor Wong also pairs more traditional bar bites, such as what the Star Tribune thinks “might be the best sweet potato fries in town,” with 18 draft craft beers from breweries such as Surly Brewing Co. and Summit Brewing Company. Weekly special events such as trivia and karaoke further foster the laid-back pub vibe, as patrons can sample sakes or sing lullabies to the Yuzo Sour Baby cocktail, which mixes rye whiskey, sour mix, egg whites, and lemon-peel essence.
A classic sports bar in the heart of downtown, and just an abnormally long bunt away from Twins action, The Ugly Mug offers beer, specialty drinks, and an extensive menu to match. Lead off with an order of the seasoned tater tots ($6), served with house-made ranch dressing, and then slide tonguefirst into a grilled flatbread, such as the alligator and shrimp ($13), topped with poblano chili sofrito and manchego and jack cheese, or the classic tomato and basil margherita ($9). For alcohol-encompassed eats, guests can nosh on the Summit EPA-battered chicken strips ($7), tossed with a choice of six sauces, or they can forgo the eating part altogether and sip on a specialty cocktail, such as the Stoli and citrus Blue Lemonito ($7.50), swirled with mint and agave nectar. In additional to cocktailery, 20 beers are available on tap and 40 by the bottle—one for each week in the year. As stomachs acquaint themselves with new friends, eyeballs can turn to any of the bar's nine flat-screen TVs to catch Twins, Vikings, or PBS highlights.
The Lounge's posh décor and pulsing electronic beats lend itself to late-night mingling and premium-alcohol sipping. Beverages such as rail drinks ($6), glasses of wine ($7), and premium mixed cocktails ($7–$9) share fridge space with domestic bottled beers ($5) and imported bottled beers ($6). Electronic music induces robot dance moves, and exotic animal prints, plush velvet pillows, and oil-painting-lined walls complement modern furniture and little black dresses. The club's dress code allows unripped jeans, but athletic apparel, baggy clothing, white T-shirts, and slacks made of live squirrels are prohibited.