Happy hour food and drink is great for anyone on a budget. The Twin Cities metro is filled with quality bars, lounges and dives offering cheap drinks and discounted food throughout the week. But what about for free food? Are there really places that supplement your drinking experience with complimentary snacks? Yes, they do exist. The following Minnesota bars offer snacks for no extra charge when you’re out drinking. Whether looking to save money, to prevent a hangover without opening your wallet or to satisfy the inevitable drunken munchies, enjoy the free snacks at these local bars.
Williams Uptown Pub and Peanut Bar
2911 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Free popcorn and peanuts make this classic Minneapolis haunt a winner. For over 50 years, William’s has been the go-to spot for free snacks. Accompanying strong drinks, good beer and better company, there’s nothing better than these savory treats. Aside from the upstairs game room and the 70-plus beers on tap, the snacks alone are enough of a draw. One of the last places of its type, Williams is a unique mainstay in an ever-growing and changing Uptown.
995 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
In the growing retail and entertainment district surrounding the coming Schmidt Artist Lofts, Shamrock’s has for years been a solid bar and restaurant for neighborhood patrons, Wild fans and burger lovers alike. And for happy hour, you don’t have to worry about food specials. Get a discounted beer or well drink and enjoy the complimentary nacho bar that is served Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oozing nacho cheese and crunchy tortilla chips make a great addition to day drinking and should help prevent a hangover, allowing you to enjoy that one extra drink.
395 N. Robert St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
Another great place for burgers and beer, and also with an impressive happy hour, the Minnesota Saloon recently took over the less-than-impressive Bullpen space in downtown St. Paul. If you don’t want to spend money on food, look to the back of the bar where a giant popcorn machine sits ready and waiting. You won’t find popcorn inside, however; instead the machine glows with the bright orange of delicious, crunchy, savory cheese balls. Grab a paper boat and fill up. It’s a great, free snack to quell the drunken munchies.
1754 Lexington Ave. N.
Roseville, MN 55113
While it’s not known for the food, Ol’ Mexico has fantastic happy hour deals that run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every weekday. And the best part is the free tacos that accompany happy hour. Order a drink and then head over to the surprisingly large taco bar to load up on all of the beef, cheese and fixins you can eat. Some people walk away with an entire plate of taco shells, an entire plate of meat and entire plate of cheese to create a fiesta feast for the reduced price of a happy hour drink.
Lyndale Tap House
2937 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
For late-night tacos, come to Lyndale Tap House on Mondays. If you missed dinner, this is a great option for a quick meal, and if you’re out for Monday Funday, you can’t beat a free taco to go along with something off the creative beer list. Free tacos start at 9 p.m., so if you’ve already been drinking, the taco bar is a welcome belly-filler. There are other late-night deals for happy hour, like $5 house burgers and sloppy joes, but the tacos are tasty and filling enough that you won’t need to buy anything except a drink or two to leave satisfied.
Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.