Hopkins Tavern gives customers plenty of reasons to stop in, offering 32 local, regional, and craft beers on tap and pub fare ranging from wings to cheese curds. But the staff knows how to keep patrons entertained as well as satiated. Along with daily happy hours, the tavern hosts team trivia and bar bingo nights. Wild fans can look forward to watching each game live on the bar’s TVs along with cheap domestic brews and shots to celebrate every Wild goal.
Conversation at Mainstreet Bar & Grill moves in buzzing orbits around pool tables, live musicians, and big-screen and projection TVs broadcasting Minnesota Viking games. Banter slows to a halt as half-pound burgers and chicken sandwiches arrive with occasional adventurous twists, such as sliced pineapple or Cajun spices. Button-tufted red leather booths line one wall, where patrons chow down under railroad crossing signs and vintage soda signs. Thursday nights acoustic open mic shows let songwriters try out new songs when cover bands aren’t performing past hits or reading aloud from Elvis’s partially completed crossword puzzles.
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.
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.
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.
•For $10, you get $20 worth of dockside dinner and drinks, valid Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to close. •For $10, you get $20 worth of dockside lunch and drinks, valid Monday through Friday from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. •For $5, you get $10 worth of dockside breakfast and drinks, valid Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.