Best Of Home

Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities

February 14, 2011 2:54 AM

View Comments

Theme bars are for people with more eclectic tastes, or just a sense of adventure. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, no doubt you’ll find it at one of the best theme bars in the Twin Cities.

Sometimes you just want something different. Maybe you’re really into zombies, or perhaps you become one after gorging on a new and different cuisine. Maybe you like to dance the night away to Latin music or techno beats, or perhaps a low-key piano bar is more your thing. Theme bars are for people with more eclectic tastes, or just a sense of adventure. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, no doubt you’ll find it at one of the best theme bars in the Twin Cities.
donnydicks Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities


Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den

2027 N. 2nd Street
Minneapolis, Minn. 55411
(612) 588-9700

Dirk’s Zombie Den is zombie-kitsch at its finest. The décor is vintage Vegas show lounge and features a leopard print carpet, smoked mirrors on the wall and vinyl covered chairs and booths. Zombie centered drinks are served up by bartenders straight out of Shaun of the Dead and brought to you by Morticia Adams look-a-likes. Oh, and if a zombie gives you any trouble, break the glass and grab the conveniently located chainsaw. Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

polonaiseroom Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities


Nye’s Polonaise Room & Nye’s Bar

112 E. Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 379-2021

Nye’s Polonaise Room and Nye’s Bar, situated in Historic Nordeast, is as much a Minneapolis institution as you will find. Nosh on traditional Polish fare, sing along with Sweet Lou on the piano and dance an endless polka with the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band. Nye’s Polonaise Room was named the best bar in America by Esquire magazine, but nobody there is bragging. They’re too busy having a good time. Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

gasthof Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities

At Gasthof, patrons are led in song by a man dressed in Lederhosen toting an accordion. (Credit:

Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit

2300 University Avenue NE
Minneapolis, Minn. 55418
(612) 781-3860

At Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, every day is an Oktoberfest celebration. At Gasthof’s, patrons dine on schnitzel, wurst and other traditional German fare, drink imported German beer from a giant glass boot and are led in song by a man dressed in Lederhosen toting an accordion. Prepare to eat, drink and be very merry as Gasthof’s is always a good time. Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

elnuevorodeo Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities

El Nuevo Rodeo is the hottest Latin hangout in the Twin Cities. (Credit:

El Nuevo Rodeo

2709 E. Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minn. 55406
(612) 728-0101

El Nuevo Rodeo is the hottest Latin hangout in the Twin Cities. The restaurant features tasty Mexican food and tequila themed drinks. After you’ve had your fill, dance the night away (literally, El Nuevo Rodeo is open until 4 a.m.) to live Latin music. Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 a.m.

saloon Best Theme Bars In the Twin Cities

The Saloon has a reputation for being Minneapolis

The Saloon

830 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, Minn. 55403
(612) 332-0835

The Saloon has a reputation for being Minneapolis’ gay emporium. With four different bars, theme nights, karaoke and the occasional drag show, you’ll find something to suit every gay persuasion. DJs spin tunes nightly and even the straight crowd comes here to dance. Hours: Monday through Wednesday, noon to 2 a.m.; Thursday through Saturday, noon to 3 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.

View Comments
  • Jeff

    Its offensive to call the saloon a “theme bar.” Would you refer to something as a black bar? Or a Jewish Bar? The saloon isn’t themed, its just a place where we as gay men can go and hang out. We’re not a theme, we’re not like zombies or Oktoberfest, we’re people. Take the Saloon off your list and be more thoughtful before putting up these kinds of lists in the future.

    • Anna

      I totally agree with you… You are yourself and not a “Theme”. I may not be gay, but I do have many friends who are and I know they would be offended by this too. Have a great day Jeff and keep standing up for your community.

    • Iconoclast

      Agreed. Poor choice to include a gay bar like it’s some sort of theme.

    • Claire

      I too thought that was awful…..I mean really…do you lok and point at gay people too? Horrible!

    • German Zombie Leo

      As a proud member of the German Zombie Community, i am soooo offended by this list of theme bars. Do you people think that because i am German and a member of the living dead that i am some sort of Circus Freak!?! Please think of our feelings before publishing SUCH an offensive article. If i didnt have to go and look for fresh brains to eat, i would spend my entire night crying over this article and the terrible treatment of my fellow Zombies.

      • debbie

        That was Great Zombie Leo, i mean seriously is it that big of a deal that they included a gar bar on the list. When they have men dressing as women and women dressing as men for the stupid drag shows i definitely would have included it on the list too.

    • debbie

      Ummm maybe you should take a look at this bar’s calender of events. Every fricken night is a different theme, that’s probably why the bar was included in the best “themed bars” gosh i would think you would be proud that a gay bar would make a best of anything list. but no instead you are one of them gays that crys and screams discrimination about EVERYTHING!!!!!

    • J Dog

      agreed Jeff.

    • chimp

      your people?

    • sara

      You people are too sensitive

  • Ryan

    Overly sensitive, aren’t you? There is nothing condescending about what they said, or offensive. Maybe your skin needs to toughen up a bit. I suppose the Polish and German people should be offended also?

  • Edmond

    Jeff is right. Ryan, you don’t seem to understand.

  • Heidi

    Jeff, your comment was 150% right on! It’s offensive and the the writer should have been more sensitive!

    Ryan sorry, you need to open your eyes man.

  • Jen

    Actually Ryan has made a good point. If people are born gay, it’s the same as being born Polish or German and completely out of one’s control. In these times I honestly think people find any excuse out there to be offended. Be proud of who you are and celebrate it!

    • Jeff

      Jen, I am proud to be gay. But I don’t think being gay is a “theme”. I celebrate my gayness (trust me, I DEFINITELY celebrate it) but the Saloon isn’t a theme bar. It isn’t themed gay. By calling it a theme bar it makes us sound like circus freaks or a spectacle. We’re not. We’re people.

      • Zach

        So German, Latin, and Polish people are freaks and spectacles? Because that’s what you are insinuating. While it’s probably not a “theme” bar, don’t try to defend yourself by making a generalized statement like that. That’s more of a bullying tactic.

  • Jen

    Fair enough. Maybe the article needs a better title?

  • Joey

    theme – 2. a unifying or dominant idea, motif, etc. Just saying.

  • richard

    I like “THE JOINT” on cedar ave. Great MOTORCYCLE theme bar. I live 70 miles away and stop there 3/4 times a summer. They serve breakfast on the weekends….great food, servers and atsmophere and the prices are very reasonable. They have outside service all summer and off the street bike parking.

  • jim

    Hey Jeff,
    Lighten up Francis

    • DEBBIE


  • Jake

    The irony, of course, is that none of the establishments on these “lists” end up there by accident. They usually have publicists and are more than happy to accept the free marketing of being included in a “news story.” If somebody is offended (and frankly, everybody should be just be offended so we can get that out of the way), they should take it up with the establishment that hits too close to home for their audacity to create (and now market) an environment for folks with similar interests/tastes as they have. How dare they?

  • Debbie

    I think you Jeff being offended by this is ridiculous. i mean at the saloon you have these drag shows where there is women dressing as men and men dressing as women. if thats not what you call a theme night what is it then????

    • Travis

      Its people being themselves. Theyre not spectacles for you to be entertained by. Stop the bigotry and open your eyes Debbie.

      • debbie

        Drag “shows” ! shows are something that people are entertained by. Need i say more

      • Travis

        well except the fact that there arent any drag shows at the saloon Debbie. And, the fact that you’re confusing drag queens and transgendered bar patrons. Maybe itd be best if you opened your eyes Debbie and stopped being a close minded bigot.

  • Blake

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch Jeff.

  • Billy

    Good Job WCCO,
    Lets all go to the bar, drink, drive and kill somebody so WCCO has some news to report.

    As if there was not enough drinking, DWI’s in the Twin Cities

    • Don

      Billy, you are a nut.

  • Jerry

    I for one, enjoy going to the various straight-themed bars in the Twin Cities…’s kind of fun to see their different heterosexualt traditions such as meat raffles, ladies’ night, pool tournaments, and darts.

    • Mark

      I’ve seen meat raffles at the gay bar too, but I think it was a different type of event than a heterosexual ‘meat raffle.’

  • German Zombie Leo

    German Zombie Leo think “darts” is also played a bit different at a gay bar.

  • fiddlearound

    Lighten up, is right. nit picking semantics to find a way to be offended is kind of sad. Strange how no one stood up for El Neuvo Rodeo, which is just a mexican restuarant. you are offended because you choose to be offended.

    • Michael

      If i were meixcan, i wouldve probably been offended. But Im not Mexican, Im a gay man and find offense with it. So Fiddlearound, shut up.

      • Matthew Gilliabrand

        Michael is a troll.

  • Lilly

    Let me get this straight, not only are illegals flooding into Minnesota and working here illegally (under our identities and SSN’s), now the Mexican bars can stay open until 4a.m,? Why can’t my favorite bars stay open til 4a.m.?

  • Carmen

    You do realized that there is life outside of Mpls. Why do you people insist on labeling something Twin Cities when all you don’t even leave Mpls?

  • Mel

    You wonder why the Gay 90s was overrun by bachelorette parties 10 years ago? Straight voyeurism. Articles like these perpetuate that notion. Gay bars are safe spaces for people to be themselves. Straight people are constantly looking for ways to feel “edgy” so they flock to gay bars, and, that’s all fine and good until the bar gets taken over by straight dudes who are insecure in their masculinity and the vibe doesn’t feel so safe anymore. I’ve been going out in Mpls since the early 1990s and that’s exactly what happened at the Gay 90s. Fun times turned into aggro scary times. Billing a gay bar as a “theme” encourages it to be viewed as a spectacle, ie, “oooh ahh, look OMG it’s two guys kissing! YUCK” or, worse, “two guys kissing, let’s kick their asses.” If you want to be edgy, try Burning Man or something.

  • Charles

    So sick of political correctness gone wild…. dragshows are a spectacle to be ogled at…period!

  • fiddlearound

    Must be a fun life spending it in a constant state of offense, Michael. Because if THIS offends you, the list of things that offends you must be really long and that, Michael, is indeed sad.

  • J Evan

    I guess I’m confused as to why the “Ya’ll Come Back Saloon” is considered a theme bar. If it’s as a Wild West themed bar then fine. Just that there is not much of a wild west theme beyond the name. Gay is not a theme. Gay is the clientele. To suggest that it is a theme is offensive. If Donnie Dirk’s was a bar which catered to zombies and not to people who enjoy a zombie-themed atmosphere then calling it a theme bar would be offensive.

  • Greg

    Jeff really needs to toughen up and stop crying.

  • Gigi

    Is the Loring still around? Because i remember back in the day that was a Greasy Eurotrash Hippy “theme” bar. ;)

  • sean

    there’s no crying in themed bars!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live