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.
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.
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.
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.
Joke Joint Comedy Club packs its schedule with touring comics and local stars, restocking spectators' mirth supplies during several shows every week. Audiences can browse a wide selection of humorists, whose collective resumé includes appearances on Comedy Central and Showtime’s Louie Anderson Presents. Housed in the historic Diamond Jim's Supper Club, the auditorium seats up to 200 chucklers at tables, where they can comfortably rest their elbows and laugh-track cassettes during performances.
Poor Richard's Commonhouse whips up hearty platters of classic American pub grub and intrepid tumblers of signature cocktails against a cozy backdrop of exposed brick walls and hardwood floors. Oil rusty jaw hinges with starters such as the Samuel Adams lager mussels ($9.99), which bathes Prince Edward Island mussels in Sam Adams dijon-cream sauce, or the bison chili ($5.25/bowl), which couples locally raised, slow-roasted bison with fresh chilies, tomatoes, and spices, blanketed with pepper jack cheese and sour cream. The Colonial meatloaf ($13.99), dressed in a suit of bacon and anointed with an East Coast red glaze, blends Hereford beef and Compart Family Farms Premium Duroc ground pork with fresh herbs in a meal hearty enough to survive New England winters and tender enough to journal about it.