Reporting Sara Pelissero
Sure, the gastro pub is nothing new. But a gastro pub with … wait for it … skee-ball? Now that’s something to write home about.
Pat’s Tap, the new south Minneapolis restaurant — not to mention, incredible palindrome — has officially opened and contains not one, but four vintage skee-ball machines.
So why skee-ball?
“‘Cause I love skee-ball,” said co-owner Kim Bartmann.
Fair enough. And might I add, who doesn’t?
Yes, from the brilliant minds behind the Red Stag Supperclub, Barbette and Bryant Lake Bowl, Pat’s Tap Skee-Club and Gastro Pub aims to keep that same working model alive — great food, sustainable options and an environment that attracts everyone.
“We wanted a real friendly, accessible menu that makes meat lovers happy and vegan lovers happy and everyone in between,” Bartmann said. “And, having to make my mom happy.”
After all, her mom, Pat, is a big inspiration.
“There used to be a bar in my hometown called Pat’s Tap and that closed several years ago. Actually the guy that used to own that bar gave my mom one of his old T-shirts to wear to this Pat Tap’s opening,” she said. “So there’s a hometown connection.”
The menu, described as a gourmet twist on traditional bar fare, is also slightly inspired by Bartmann’s mom. With the help of Chef Charlie Schwandt (formerly of 112 Eatery), the menu features everything from a cozy plate of Carbonara (with smoked ham hock) to a duck burger, topped with wasabi and bean sprout.
As a nod to the traditional bar food, buffalo wings, Pat’s Tap instead offers Buffalo Terrine with shaved celery and blue cheese — a dish that’s good enough to get Bartmann’s favorite compliment so far.
“On the second day we were open, I got a facebook message from a woman from Buffalo, New York, complimenting us on how great that Buffalo Chicken Terrine was,” she said. “That was pretty cool.”
The pub will also serve weekend brunch — and Bartmann adds, will be showing both Vikings and Packer games on their two bar TVs.
Beyond the food, the bar is packed with more than 60 different cans of beer, 18 local beers on tap and an impressive wine list with organic and local options.
“We have 20 draft wines and most of them are local,” Bartmann said.
Now, back to those skee-ball machines. Bartmann said the four machines have been a hot commodity since the pub opened and had quite the journey to get to their new home.
Originally from 1952, Bartmann first spotted the vintage machines online.
“I found them on eBay through a guy in Canada, who bought them from an arcade in upstate New York,” she said. “My sister Kari and a friend of hers started work on restoring them in her garage through this winter.”
Another great highlight of the pub — and one that’s not quite as noticeable — is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design efforts. Bartmann said the roof on Pat’s Tap is a 10kwH Solar Array, which helps power the restaurant when the sun shines and then some.
Still, perhaps one of the best draws regarding Pat’s Tap is its cozy neighborhood appeal. Bartmann said there’s nothing she’s more proud of than to see a diverse crowd inside her establishments.
“For whatever reason, I don’t know what it is, we seem to be able to mash up all different kinds of people in one place and still have everyone feeling comfortable,” she said. “For instance, just yesterday, there were some punk rockers sitting at the bar and there were four very well-dressed 60-something retirees, having lunch and playing skee-ball. I just love when anybody and everybody feels welcome.”
Pat’s Tap is located at 3510 Nicollet Ave. For hours, menus and more, visit the website.