Hotel bars have come into their own as of late. No longer just the convenient spot downstairs for travelers, these bars have cultivated their own style to appeal not only to outsiders, but to locals as well. Excellent food, drink and always great people watching make these hotel bars tops in Minnesota. Who knows? You might witness a “The Graduate”-type affair while you’re enjoying a martini. Anything can happen at hotel bars. Don’t miss out. Check out these places for a uniquely Minnesota experience. Check out the list of Best Hotel Bars in the Twin Cities from a couple years back as well.
Saint Paul Grill
The Saint Paul Hotel
350 Market St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
The old world elegance of the Saint Paul Hotel’s bar and restaurant recalls the days of James J. Hill and F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the best Scotch lists anywhere in the Midwest is featured here, but you don’t have to be a rich businessman to appreciate all that the Saint Paul Grill has to offer. It is, in a word, breathtaking to be in this 100-year-old building, and everyone will feel like a millionaire when sitting down for a quick drink or something to eat.
W XYZ Bar
900 Washington Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Bright and colorful, W XYZ is almost the exact opposite of the above Saint Paul Grill. The differences between these two hotel bars mirror the differences between the cities themselves; if you want to get a small taste of Minneapolis, this is a good place to start. A small but creative food menu, drinks as colorful as the decor, happy hour until 7 p.m., pool tables and often live music/DJs set this bar at the Aloft Hotel as the place to be.
Fitger’s Brewhouse, Brewery and Grille
600 E. Superior St.
Duluth, MN 55802
Staying at Fitger’s offers quite a few perks. Inside the walls of the enormous building there is shopping galore, more than one restaurant and incredible views of majestic Lake Superior. But the real reason to go is for the beer. Fitger’s is ultimately a brewhouse that just happens to have really nice rooms upstairs in which to fall asleep after trying everything on the tap list. Always lively and busy, it’s a tourist destination that still caters completely to the charms of Duluth.
The Liffey Irish Pub
Holiday Inn St. Paul
175 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55102
One of Kieran Folliard’s ventures (and his 2Gingers whiskey is featured prominently), The Liffey is a pub with beautiful dark wood lining the bar and booths, great food and one of the best patios in Minnesota. It also has a fantastic happy hour, which runs almost all day as long as the Wild aren’t playing across the street. The Holiday Inn that towers above The Liffey is a popular destination for Wild fans, so if you’re looking to mingle after a game, it’s a sure bet for a great after party.
Graves 601 Hotel
601 N. 1st Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Cosmos is one of those rare bars that is swanky and chic, but still feels completely welcoming and casual. Anyone in town for a business meeting will feel right at home sipping cocktails at the bar or lounging in the booths, and a big group of friends out for a night in Minneapolis will feel just as comfortable the next seat over. You’ll find a different, more relaxed vibe here than at the other restaurant/bar in the Graves 601 Hotel, Bradstreet Crafthouse, and Cosmos is all the better for it.
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.