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The Ultimate Guide to the Minneapolis Bar Scene

There are tons of excellent, entertaining, and exciting bars across the country. But perhaps, to some people’s surprise, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has some of the best!

bars in minneapolis serves cocktail drinks

I love Minneapolis as a city because of its rich culture and history. Whenever I go there, I enjoy visiting their top attractions, such as the Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Minnehaha Falls, among others.

But I also want to take it easy on some days, so I have enough energy to visit the bars in the evenings – especially if I’m in the city with a group of friends!

In this article, I’ll share the best bars in Minneapolis that you can visit at night or during the day. Some of these bars are great for going with old friends while others are perfect for meeting new friends.

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge

1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Phone: 612-788-9069
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Psycho Suzy’s Motor Lounge is a Polynesian-inspired bar with a charismatic vibe. If the kitschy tiki decorations motivate you to go in, the riverfront patio will make you want to stay!

The patio is simultaneously relaxing and lively, located right on the Mississippi River within Gluek Park. I especially enjoy the patio during the summer – arguably my favorite time to visit Psycho.

The bar has a bit of a funny name, but my guess is that it’s called Psycho, given the eclectic and crazy cocktails they serve, with colorful and creative designs.

I’m obsessed with their Bloody Mary, but you can’t go wrong with any of the cocktails. Besides the drinks, my favorite menu items include their Chicken sliders and Cheese curds.

And if you don’t mind pineapple on your pizza, I would highly recommend their Hawaiian Pizza.

Hewing Hotel

300 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 651-468-0400
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If you’re looking for a bar a little more upscale than showy tiki decorations, check out the bar in the Hewing Hotel, located in the Warehouse District.

It’s a classy rooftop bar with an incredible view of the Minneapolis skyline. Although the hotel is lovely to stay in, I like that you don’t have to be a hotel guest to have a drink (or two) at the rooftop bar.

Given the stylish vibe and upscale appeal, ordering drinks like a Manhattan is a great idea. And if you go during the winter and are still in the mood for a rooftop environment, make sure to reserve a spot in the hot tub!

Prohibition Bar

Speakeasy in the Sky, 821 South Marquette Avenue 27th Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: 612-215-3700
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Prohibition Bar is appropriately named, as it has the style of a speakeasy. Of course, it’s not the same as an authentic speakeasy, as it’s effortless to find, right on the 27th floor inside the W Hotel.

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However, it has a similar intimate atmosphere to a speakeasy and a classic design.

Their old-fashioned cocktail is a decent menu item, but you can order a range of other cocktails for a better price – especially during Happy Hour.

Up-Down Minneapolis

3012 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: 612-823-3487
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Up-Down is one of the best bars in Minneapolis, thanks to its old-school and ultra-relaxed vibes. It’s located in the Uptown area near Karmel Mall, so there are many great restaurants nearby, but you can’t miss a visit to Up-Down.

I love going there with friends because they have many fun games you can play while drinking, such as skeeball, Connect 4, and Jenga.

They even have an arcade area and a Nintendo 64, so you can play all the games you loved growing up.

They have both an upstairs and downstairs, and while both have great vibes, I prefer hanging out downstairs where all the games are.

Plus, they have plenty of beer – 60 options on tap, to be specific – so there’s no getting bored of your drinks here!

Betty Danger’s Country Club

2501 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Phone: 612-315-4997
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Betty Danger’s Country Club is like no other bar I’ve ever been to. It’s near the Mississippi River beside Edgewater Park and truly unique with eclectic decor and entertaining activities.

And if you think I mean just funky light fixtures, there’s more. You’ll find a large Ferris wheel, a mini-golf course, and varied Christmas decorations during the holidays.

I appreciate going here with friends and family to take pictures, check out the views from the Ferris wheel, and – of course – get great drinks.

Their margaritas are my favorite, mainly because you can use the “Bike Blender” to blend your own margarita by pedaling on a bike!


1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-332-1010
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Between Elliot Park and North Loop, Dakota is one of Minneapolis’s best live music clubs. I also love the intimate atmosphere, as it feels as if they’re playing music for just a select group of lucky individuals!

You’ll enjoy Dakota as much as I do if you are into jazz music. They offer live music every single night, sometimes offering back-to-back shows.

Plus, they don’t limit your stay, so you can experience both shows if you’d like! In addition, they have a full restaurant menu.

Many bars offer small bar bites and snacks, but at Dakota, you can get a full dinner along with your drinks. Some of my favorite menu items include scallops, caesar salad, and Irish Whiskey.

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First Avenue

701 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-338-8388
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First Avenue is another excellent venue, perfect if your favorite form of nightlife includes live music. It’s been around for decades – since 1970, to be exact – and it’s one of the most popular clubs in Minneapolis.

While I haven’t been to every show here, I always have an excellent time when I come. Perhaps given its location in Central Minneapolis near Target Field, it gets pretty crowded, so be prepared to get cozy with your friends (or strangers)!

The sound system is excellent, so you can actually enjoy the music, even when it’s super loud. Check their website before coming as they have different genres of music playing every night.

They also have a great bar area if you need a break from dancing or just want to order cheap drinks and chat with friends.

J.D. Hoyt’s Supper Club

301 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612-338-1560
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J.D. Hoyt’s Supper Club is more of a steakhouse than a regular bar, but you can truly get the best of both worlds here.

Like First Avenue mentioned above, J.D. is also near Target Field in the Warehouse District. This steakhouse is the perfect spot for date night, given their fantastic wine and even more delicious food.

My favorite food items include pork chops, catfish and lobster risotto. Their crab cakes are also some of the best I’ve ever had.

If you work in Minneapolis, this is also one of the prime spots to unwind after work as they have a wonderful happy hour Monday through Friday where you can get rail drinks with your favorite standard liquor – tequila, rum, vodka, or gin.


730 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Phone: 612-354-3135
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Another great saloon in the North Loop area is called Parlour. Here, you can find some of the best classic and specialty cocktails in the area.

When I visit the North Loop area, I like starting my night out here to make sure I get a perfectly tasty drink before continuing to bar hop.

I also appreciate the intimate, cozy space with small tables, making it an excellent place to start or end a romantic date.

My favorite classic cocktails include a maritime, a gimlet, and an old-fashioned, but it’s fun to challenge the bartenders to make something more creative off the menu!

The Local

Multiple locations
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Right across the street from previously mentioned Dakota, you’ll find The Local, arguably one of Minneapolis’s most fun Irish pubs.

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The Local offers traditional Irish drinks and food, as well as a lively patio and large TVs playing soccer, so you’ll never miss a game!

I’ve come here for both Saint Patrick’s Day and Minnesota United games, and it’s always a great time.

If you’re feeling hungry, I would recommend ordering some of their delicious sandwiches or burgers, as they are all amazing. As for drinks, I like to start with an Irish coffee and then get a range of beers from there!

TILT Pinball Bar

113 E 26th St #110, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Phone: 612-236-4089
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TILT Pinball Bar is located in Whittier near the Hennepin History Museum. As its name suggests, you may expect to find at least one or two pinball machines here.

Luckily, you will actually get a great bar with not just one or two but 20 pinball machines! That means you likely won’t have to wait in line for a chance to play this classic game.

Besides the pinball machines and array of excellent beers, the best thing to do at TILT is to enjoy a delicious hot dog.

They have some of the best hot dogs in the entire state of Minnesota. You can get a range of toppings on them, including but not limited to mac & cheese, bacon, pickles, tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheese, and baked beans.

They even serve a hot dog with kimchi, which is unique and instantly became one of my favorites!

Volstead’s Emporium

711 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408
Phone: 612-701-8101
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Volstead’s Emporium – in Uptown near Bryant Square Park – is a speakeasy-inspired bar that may appear unassuming at first but actually has a lot to offer.

Their craft cocktails are to die for, some of my favorites being Blush, The Ventress, and Oh, Snap!

I also appreciate that they have a rotating food menu, which means I can keep coming back time and time again and enjoying new foods with these delicious cocktails.

Plus, did I mention the live jazz music? Unlike some jazz bars, they don’t have live music every night, so check their schedule if you want to have some classy background music while sipping your old-fashioned.

Pog Mahone’s Pub & Grill

903 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: 612-236-4724
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If you’re looking for the most easy-going and relaxed pub in town, look no further than Pog Mahone’s, in between the U.S. Bank Stadium and Gold Medal Park.

Like The Local, Pog is a straightforward Irish bar that serves classics like fish and chips. However, you can also get traditional American bar food here, such as wings, chicken strips, and waffle fries. And their coconut chicken fingers are out of this world!

Of course, Pog Mahone’s offers plenty of beers on tap to choose from, and they offer a 2-for-1 on beers during happy hour.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.