The Madison Pub Club card works like magic. With a power similar to that of a hypnotist’s watch or the key to Detroit Rock City, the card only needs to be waved in front of bartenders at six participating bars to receive a two-for-one special on any one item $6 in value or less. The card can be used once per day, every day at each bar, totaling a maximum of six free drinks every 24 hours. Though there are some restrictions in regards to time, four of the six bars accept it during all normal business hours.
Bon Appétit's bright-red façade, alluring green doorway, and smells of fresh cooking coax patrons in to where they can peruse a frequently changing menu. The eatery's dishes are largely prepared with locally produced ingredients, including organic eggs and grass-fed, natural meat. Brunch opens its coat to offer passersby an ever-evolving selection of sandwiches ($7.75), such as the BLT on sourdough, and the Ben Yeddar, in which chopped roasted egg, feta cheese, shredded carrot, onion, roasted cashews, mild green chilies, and a cumin-infused mayonnaise are laid to rest on fresh pita bread. Broaden taste horizons with treats such as panquecas ($7.95), Brazilian crêpes stuffed with fresh banana, topped with honey, and served with a choice of Spanish potato salad, polenta, or fruit. Recent dinner specials include Algerian pan-seared chicken, marinated in a spicy bath infused with roasted anise seed and served with special rice ($15.95).
Waves creeping onto a sandy shoreline. The sun dipping into the glassy horizon. The sound of laughter and clinking bottles. These are the sort of recollections Big Bay Brewing wants to evoke with each sip of its frosty beers. The master brewers use natural ingredients, such as proprietary yeast and real sugar, while concocting the tasty pours that comprise their menu of small-batch seasonal ales and year-round staples.
Big Bay Brewing's tasting room and retail center also prompts visitors to recall memories of relaxing vacations with its teakwood tables, crackling fireplace, and confused tourists standing around with maps. Those enamored with the tasting room—described by Shepherd Express as decorated with boathouse adornments and daubed in aquatic blues—can rent out part or all of the space for holiday parties, fundraisers, and other gatherings.
Housed in the historic Ramada Plaza Hotel, Cibo Steaks & Spirits hosts a team of culinary wizards who craft hearty bread-bound edibles by day and a dinner menu brimming with Italian-inspired plates by night. Noontime noshers can start with an order of mozzarella sticks ($5) or red pepper poppers ($5.50) before wrapping mitts around a lightly breaded buffalo chicken sandwich ($6) or a charbroiled brat burger ($6), which hides its identity crisis beneath a thick cloak of sauerkraut and mustard.
Downer Avenue Wine & Spirits' beverage buffs line their shelves with a legion of libations, helping customers cull the best selections for meals, gifts, and gatherings. Explore the vast selection of nearly 1,000 different wines ($4.99–$199.99)—with more than 200 bottles less than $10—in a trek more promising than an expedition for a mystical fount of gold merlot. The walk-in beer bunker boasts more than 200 frosty varieties of domestics, imports, and crafts, as well as a collection of microbrews from local hop houses, such as Sprecher and Lakefront ($4.99–$15.99/6). Sippers who enjoy their drinks on the rocks or in hollow stalactites can stock up on spirits from Downer Avenue's diverse batch of bottles, which includes Rehorst Premium Milwaukee Vodka and an assortment of single malt scotches ($22.99–$349.99).
In the open autumn air at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, Twin Cities Oktoberfest celebrates all that is German during its two days of festivities. Throughout the weekend, live bands such as the Bavarian Musikmeisters, a 30-piece wind-instrument outfit, and The Squires Band, a four-piece band with 30 years of experience, entertain guests with traditional German harmonies and live renditions of the ER theme song. Between shows, audience members peruse vendors' booths, noshing on brats and German snacks. Beer from Summit and wine from Pedroncelli flow into glasses, keeping guests lingering into the evening hours as they discuss the latest in lederhosen fashion.
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