Best Bars For Different ‘Scenes’ In Minnesota

April 17, 2014 8:00 AM

(credit: Jupiter Images)

Readers reacted to the negative stereotype of “hipster” in previously published Best Hipster Hangout Spots In Minneapolis, also questioning the inner-urban location of all four bars: Triple Rock Social Club, Red Dragon Restaurant, Grumpy’s Northeast and Palmer’s Bar. Here are four trendy, artsy and exclusive watering holes where hipsters hang out, plus one bonus bar for everybody.

Best Trendy Music Bar

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

First Avenue
701 1st Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-1775

Minnesota music has revolved around First Avenue since Prince put this icon on the map in 1984. There is nothing like it. National and local acts play here on any given night and a one dollar crossover pass gets you into Seventh Street Entry, giving you more for your music dollar. The dance floor is huge and the sight lines are all good. See the set times on Facebook or Twitter. The five bars in one building serve drinks at event pricing.

Related: Best Bars With A Rotating Beer Menu In Minnesota

Best Bar for Trendy Food, Drink and Conversation

REPUBLIC at Seven Corners
221 Cedar Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 338-6146

No television, quiet enough that a group can have a decent conversation and an endless selection of microbrewery and cider beer put this pub high on the hip list. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the building used to be Sergeant Preston’s. This is the real thing. The menu has kale salad, various beef and other varieties of burgers such as quinoa-mushroom, buffalo or turkey. The happy hour food is the best value in town. Be prepared for homemade ketchup for your sweet potato fries. No generic taste here.

Best Artsy Bar

Peacock Lounge
323 13th Ave. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 623-4211

Recently constructed next door to Erte for an after-dinner sip or two, the Peacock is one of many bars and restaurants in the epicenter of art tremors originating in the Minneapolis Arts District. The martinis are the best value in Minnesota—stiff and inexpensive. The ambience is classy European with faux marble walls and funky peacock lamps.

Related: Best Secret Bars In Minnesota

Most Exclusive Bar in Minnesota

St. Paul Club
350 Market St.
Saint Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-7455

Imagine a yellow 1920 Rolls Royce with large white-walled tires pulling up to an elegant club. The Great Gatsby steps out and enters the St. Paul Club, just as the author who conceived of him did 90 years ago. Today, you might see a Porsche 918 hybrid pull up to the Market street entrance, but the bar is every bit as stately and elegant as it was in days gone by. A mahogany and brass bar stands in front of a wall-to-wall showcase of rare single malt scotches, gins for any kind of martini, vintage whiskeys and cool cognacs. Bottles flaunt familiar and not-so-familiar distillers’ names on glass shelves clear up to the high ceiling. One of its many prized spirits includes The Macallan 55, a limited edition, single malt Scotch valued at $750 per ounce.

Most Popular Bar

(credit: Grumpy's)

(credit: Grumpy’s)

Grumpy’s Downtown
1111 Washington Ave.
Minneapolis, MN
(612) 340-9738

Grumpy’s gives downtown workers a place to stop after work or an easy stop on the way in for evening entertainment. First, you pull into an enormous parking lot that is free. Don’t expect to see a 918 there but maybe a Porsche Cayman parked alongside the Ford F150 in the lot. The Light Rail station is a short walk away. Next, you will find the seating quite comfortable whether at a booth or a table. Then, order a reasonably priced drink. On the first sip, you know it is not watered down. Everyone is having fun, whether they are talking or playing pool, darts or pinball. The management mixes up the entertainment with periodic events, a good variety of music with DJs and live bands.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at

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