On any given night, the crowd at McKracken’s might be gobbling up appetizers and pizza from the late-night menu, available until 1 a.m., and hanging out until the bar’s lights go dim an hour later. As regulars often stay late playing pool or watching sports on the room’s many flat-screen TVs, the pub’s proprietors team up with Last Call Car Service on Friday and Saturday nights to bring customers and their vehicles home safely for free within 10 miles of the pub.
On afternoons and evenings, bartenders pour top-shelf spirits, cocktails, and draft and bottled beers that complement McKracken’s regular menu of pub classics. Smoked pig wings come from the kitchen tossed in sauces such as habanero or mahogany, the tasty alternative to licking a coffee table, and six burgers offer protein options from veggie to pork shoulder. As groups chat during McKracken’s weekend breakfast or into the night, the remodeled space keeps them entertained with flat-screen TVs, pool tables, darts, and live music every Friday and Saturday night.
Sixty-four tables populate Shooters' 22,000-square-foot billiardland. Some are Valley and Diamond coin-operated tables, and others are Brunswick Gold Crown tables designed for professional play, with flawless felt and wood that welcomes elbows like the moon welcomes a handsome astronaut. Observe the physics of a well-played bank shot from the ample seating surrounding each table. Shooters' rates are hourly and depend on the number of people at a table. Before 7 p.m., one to four players play for $3.75 an hour per person; after 7 p.m., hourly rates are $5.25 for one player, $4.75 for two players, $4.25 for three players, and $3.75 for four players. On weekends after 8 p.m., rates rise an additional $0.25 per hour.
Poor Richard’s Commonhouse pays homage to the tavern's role in American history by summoning locals for conversation, drinks, and a menu of pub fare. Diners can begin meals with Prince Edward Island mussels in Sam Adams dijon cream sauce ($10.99), then use racks of St. Louis–style ribs, basted to order with sweet barbecue sauce ($14.99 for half rack, $18.99 for full rack), to play tunes written for meat-encased xylophones. Sautéed shrimp and peppers deglazed with pepper-infused vodka add richness to Vodka Diablo, a pasta dish with linguini and spicy marinara ($16.99). The house chicken sandwich comes crowned with cheese, thick-cut bacon, and zesty sriracha mayonnaise ($8.99). Diners can sip one of the daily draft-beer specials while cheering on favorite quarterbacks or referees on HDTVs.
From its humble origins as a soda fountain in 1930s Saint Paul, Green Mill Restaurant and Bar has grown into a franchise with more than 28 locations all over Minnesota and the Midwest. As TV screens blast sports news in the background, patrons at each eatery dine on a menu of classic American and pizzeria fare. Thick, hand-pressed burgers form bunned towers with hefty toppings such as smoked bacon, haystack onions, and chipotle mayo. Families looking to bond can practice fractions on regular, deep-dish, or thin and crispy pizzas or group juggling acts with samplers of 27 juicy wings. In addition to pastas and salads, each location's bar carries a varied drink menu that includes draft beers such as Blue Moon and Samuel Adams alongside wine, martinis, and margaritas.
Beyond Canterbury Park's full casino and card club, the entertainment haven's 300,000-square-foot grandstand features three levels devoted to watching horses run amok on the dirt track. From the second level's stadium seating, crowds can rain roses or toss salt-lick bouquets to such superstar steeds as Sheso Dazzling, Gold Brew, and Redneck Richie. Patrons can heighten their horseracing experience with a slew of promotional events throughout the summer, including a food-truck festival on June 23 and August 10 that fills racegoers' tummies with delectable fare from around Minneapolis and a fireworks extravaganza accompanied by live music on July 3. A program lays out the day's lineup, and gambling guests can take advantage of Canterbury's online-education courses, on-track seminars, and handy wagering guide to ensure they aren't bilked by malevolent cigar-chomping stallions.
In a series of black and white portraits that pop against the backdrop of rich burgundy walls, smiling farm workers stationed around the world stand amid their crops, tools in hand. The photographs are the first hint at Peoples Organic Coffee & Wine Café's mission to link ingredients back to their source. The second hint is the menu, which boasts a roster of local farms: the ham comes from Fischer Farm, the chicken sausage from Schultz Farm, and the bison from Eichtens Family Farm. Chefs spotlight these free-range meats in wholesome burgers, wraps, and salads, which they enhance with fresh, organic veggies and housemade sauces. To complement meals, the café boasts a beer menu filled with choices from local breweries such as the limited-supply Surly and Fulton. Additionally, its wine selection runneth over with biodynamic, organic, and sustainable varietals, which are tastier than their unsustainable counterpart, unicorn tears.
When the amusement value of people-watching starts to wear off, shoppers at the Mall of America can ascend to the fourth floor to Rick Bronson's House of Comedy for professionally dispensed laughs. In front of walls painted with off-kilter murals of the city skyline, nationally renowned comedians riff and banter on a thrust stage that makes it easy for audience members to offer hearty handshakes after each good joke. Meanwhile, guests munch pizza, burgers, and northern treats such as poutine and cheese curds. Past standup superstars include Norm MacDonald, Steve-O, Tom Green, and a who's-who of comics seen on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman.