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.
A new addition to Minneapolis' downtown nightlife, Whisky Park serves country-themed ambience alongside a menu of comfort-food favorites, including pulled-pork sandwiches ($9.50), fresh margherita pizzas ($11.50), and homemade beef jerky ($8.50). Behind the bar, bartenders concoct whiskey-based whistle-whetters such as the Dolly-Would, a combination of Southern Comfort, Dekuyper Peachtree, orange juice, and a splash of ginger ale ($7), and the Ring of Fire, a shot of Jack Daniel's mixed with Tabasco sauce ($6). On Saturday nights, sip on Whisky Park's selection of specialty drinks ($7–$8) and digest dinners while struggling to stay upright on the free mechanical bull.