Despite the fact that many Minnesotans love country music, there aren’t many venues that cater to fans of this musical genre. If you’ve got a hankering for country music, bust out those cowboy boots, put on your 10-gallon hat and head on over to the best southern-style bars Minnesota has to offer.
Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar
1623 Park Place Blvd.
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
While Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar may not look like a traditional country bar, its credentials suggest otherwise. This large bar/restaurant has a sleek, industrial feel but accents like a gigantic American-flag emblazoned guitar give it a decidedly modern, country air. Designed to accommodate a large crowd, Toby Keith’s regularly features live country music with plenty of space to kick up those heels. With a menu that features southern-inspired, deep-fried goodies like fried mac-n-cheese and beer that is served in mason jars by waitresses donning daisy dukes, Toby Keith’s is an urban cowboy’s paradise.
Lee’s Liquor Lounge
101 Glenwood Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Too well kept to be a dive, but decorated just like you’d expect a dive to look, Lee’s Liquor Lounge has been the Twin Cities go-to country bar for several years running. This wood-panelled, taxidermy and neon beer sign-adorned bar features a stage with a dance floor ideal for two-stepping. Lee’s regularly features live country acts on its stage with bands like Al’s Rockabilly Quartet and Trailer Trash being regular players. While you won’t see major country acts gracing Lee’s stage, what you will see are talented musicians with a passion for country music. Dance skills need improvement? Stop by on Wednesdays for free dance lessons.
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126 N. 5th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Cowboy Jack’s is a rootin’ tootin’ good time! This multi-level country bar features a rustic decor complete with exposed brick, worn wood accents and large barrels that serve as tables. This Wild West-themed bar regularly features live country acts, so pull up a seat or hit the dance floor and enjoy the music. Head up to the second floor between sets and challenge a friend to a game of pool or darts, or relax on the scenic rooftop patio. Whether you consider yourself an actual cowboy (or cowgirl) or are just a wannabe, put yourself to the test and brave the mechanical bull. Conquer the bucking beast by hanging on long enough and you’ll earn the right to own an exclusive Cowboy Jack’s “I survived riding a mechanical bull” tee.
3125 Dodd Road
Eagan, MN 55121
If you’re looking for some good ‘ol honky tonk, head on over to Starks Saloon in Eagan. At Stark’s you’ll find a lively crowd line dancing to country favorites. Stark’s has a large dance floor so don’t be shy, join the crowd and show off your moves. If you need to brush up, Stark’s offers line dancing lessons beginning at 7:30 p.m. each Wednesday for a $5 cover. Wednesdays and Saturdays are dedicated to country, so put on those cowboy boots and socialize with fellow country fans. Stark’s also regularly hosts a variety of dance styles like swing and hip hop, so check out its calendar for more information. If you need to give those boots a rest, head into the basement for a friendly game of Texas Hold’em Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7 p.m.
A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.