Bar La Grassa
You might see some familiar faces at Bar La Grassa; that is, if you were on the scene 20 years ago. This cozy, classic bar seems to be where the see-and-be-seen crowd has resurfaced after dropping out to marry, breed and colonize the burbs. And with good reason – the bartenders talk smart and pour stiff drinks; beyond the bar, the namesake restaurant serves world-class Italian cuisine fine enough to merit a designation as a finalist in the 2010 James Beard Best New Restaurant category, and a spot on the list of Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in America. Bar hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 5 p.m. to midnight.
Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill
Forty-somethings were just coming of age when Bunker’s began featuring Dr. Mambo’s Combo on Sunday and Monday nights back in the ’90s. No worries if they missed it the first time; the fun’s still going on! As fresh and funky as ever, Dr. Mambo’s Combo takes the stage every Sunday and Monday night; the International Reggae All-Stars “lively up” the joint on Tuesdays; Twin Cities favorite G.B. Leighton plays the room on Wednesdays; and an assortment of local talent fills the bill on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Still the most swingin’ spot in the city, Bunker’s is a guaranteed good time. Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Cooper Irish Pub
If size matters, Cooper Irish Pub has got it over just about any venue in the Twin Cities. But there’s no sacrificing quality for quantity here. The voluminous room’s focal point is an immense bar crafted out of wood, marble and cut glass and imported from Ireland; fanning out on three sides are expansive dining areas and a private party space. Serving a European pub-based menu, classic cocktails and 16 tap beers, this elegant, oversized alehouse is a great choice for a casual date night, drinks with coworkers, or an outing with friends. Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to midnight.
Ike’s Food and Cocktails
50 S. 6th Street
Minneapolis, Minn. 55402-1540
Duck into this downtown destination and you might feel transported back in time. Paying homage to the WWII era, Ike’s features a rectangular bar which occupies most of the room and beckons patrons to belly up and knock back a few grown-up drinks. And the surrounding banquettes are simultaneously cozy and roomy. Conversation is easy here, thanks to reasonable volume levels and chatty bartenders, and the menu is a wonderland of updated comfort foods. Look for skirts and suits and playing “power broker,” and be sure to bring your business cards. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Living Room/Prohibition at W Minneapolis – The Foshay
The Living Room, the W’s vogue version of a lobby bar, has a hip vibe and modern décor that could be easily mistaken for that of a SoHo, L.A., or SoBe boutique hotel. And it gives all who enter an extra shot of chic just by virtue of being there. Order a designer cocktail, strike a pose, and pretend you’re somewhere – or someone – else. Hours: Monday through Saturday, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 3 p.m. to midnight.
Prohibition, which occupies the entire 27th floor of the W, feels like a private club… with a naughty side. Genteel African mahogany paneling warms the walls; shiny white pleather lounge chairs glisten like go-go boots. Curl up in a velvet settee or swagger up to the bar; then enjoy the panoramic views of the Minneapolis skyline. Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Thursday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
At Santorini Taverna, the hip (replacement) crowd is still kickin’ up its heels, thanks to live entertainment Thursday through Saturday. The live music – which skews toward the Boomer crowd – starts at 9:15 p.m.; the dance floor’s packed by 9:20. Room to move and a crowd that’s not afraid to get up and boogie make this destination a suburban hot spot. So does the legendary Greek restaurant that shares the space. Opa! Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.