Inside a restaurant whose vibrant purple awnings help diners spot it from afar, cooks concoct 75 different dishes derived from the "roof of the world." Artwork-laden walls surround the tables and cushioned chairs in the dining area, where patrons enjoy home-cooked items ranging from Tibetan-style dumplings made with lean chopped beef to batter-fried sesame chicken. The restaurant's separate bar area provides patrons with a place where they can grab a drink, watch TV, and practice thumb-wrestling moves with others.
Part dance club, part sports bar, 508's two-level venue features contemporary American cuisine and plenty of space to catch the game or cut rugs into parallelograms on the dance floor downstairs. An extensive menu features starters such as hand-cut fries ($6) and asparagus flat bread ($8.95), while heartier fare includes a 12 oz. NY strip steak topped with roasted garlic and herb butter ($19.95). Gourmet sandwiches include the earthy portabella ($8.25), which melds the hearty mushroom with herbed cream cheese, butternut squash, and the savory envy of other, less handsome fungi. Irrigate your stomach soil with a pint from the extensive beer list or wet your whistling epiglottis with a specialty martini.
The Monster Club Crawl unites costumed carousers for seven hours of food and drink specials, costume contests, and spirits sampling, providing VIP access to revelry at 10 of the spookiest bars and nightclubs in Minneapolis. With the Monster Crawl pass, patrons can begin the eerie evening with specialty starting-point events including the Monster Poker Tournament at Whisky Park (starting at 6 p.m.), or Roller Crawlers at Gay 90's. Elixir Lounge primes partygoers with $3 Michelob Golden Lite bottles in anticipation for the open crawl (starting at 10 p.m.) to bars including Ugly Mug, known for spine tingles of the sporting variety, and Aqua, which hosts a dance floor bathed in incandescent lighting and surrounded by pillars that never seem to blink. Nightclubs Bar Fly and Seven corral paranormal partiers during the closing crawl (12 a.m.), inviting patrons to unwind at a candlelit table or strut their stuff until 2 a.m., when all dance floors turn back into shuffleboard courts.
The Independent is a locally owned dining and cocktail destination boasting one of the happiest happy hours around. From 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day, city dwellers gather in the restaurant's chic yet casual confines to mingle over impressive daily specials, including $5 select appetizers, $5 specialty martinis, and $3 select draft beers and house wines. Pair a frothy Bells’ Two Hearted Ale tap brew ($3) with a classic Margherita pizza ($5), or wash down a chipotle-tinged plate of onion rings ($5) with a glass of crisp chardonnay ($3).
To keep up with Calhoun Square's much-needed revitalization after being squashed by Mothra, Aura has revamped itself from the inside out. Along with a new interior comes a new chef with an entirely re-invented menu that features American cuisine with numerous international twists. Aura's vast selection of original pasta dishes are its centerpiece with such notables as: asparagus truffle pasta ($8.95), tequila chicken pasta ($9.95), beef-tip gorgonzola ($12.95), and avocado pasta ($10.95). Traveling tongues, meanwhile, can take a stroll around the parts of America that are in Europe with entrees such as baked Bulgarian feta ($8.95), mustard thyme-glazed salmon ($12.95), and shrimp and mushroom risotto ($12.95). Aura's small plates are all under $7, but do not skimp on delectable originality or syllables. Passing around a few plates of tabasco-dipped calamari ($6.95) and goat-cheese chicken quesadilla ($6.95) will ensure that your conversation suffers no uncomfortable lulls no matter how often your friend brings up his rash.
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.