By Linda Cameron
What makes a bar iconic? A little history, a bit of mystery. Perhaps the food and drink in an engaging atmosphere. A frequently patronized bar or tavern can be iconic in its own way. We’ve pulled together a list of loyally patronized bars and bar venues not always on the critics’ list. [EDITOR’S NOTE: That means Nye’s in Northeast Minneapolis.]
Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit
2300 University Ave. N.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
Loosely translated as “a welcoming guest house,” perhaps the best translation of “Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit“, an atmospheric Bavarian restaurant bar, is “gutes essen (great food) and warm hospitality.” The softly lit rustic brown wood interior is like a European hostel seen on travel posters and in travel magazines. In the Gasthof, American and European culture meet. The authentically German menu showcases the best of Bavarian dining. From appetizers to bratwurst and sausage platters, everything is generously portioned and wonderfully gastronomic. The bar has an extensive German and international wine list. But rest assured good German and Bavarian beer are plentiful. Gasthof shares space with the adjoining Keller Bar, a cozy Irish pub. Every Friday and Saturday night, Keller patrons can polka to a live band and dance to DJ music.
2923 Girard Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Praised for its upscale down-to-earth comfort food and drink, this chef inspired uptown bar and restaurant is loaded with swank. The restaurant has upper and lower patios for large groups and multilevel seating. The spacious center bar leaves more than enough elbow room for uncrowded conversation and colorful craft cocktails. The wide stainless steel kitchen is a chef’s dream. (After all, the layout is chef inspired.) The drinks and décor are exceptional. And there is a beautiful dance floor and DJ station for Saturday night dancing.
Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. N. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
This tiki bar lounge is undoubtedly one of the most exotic. Saying it has atmosphere is an understatement. Sure, shrunken heads lie around and perhaps chew a little scenery. But while mumbling incantations in your cups, look around at the décor. Carved into the lounge’s tiki theme is history gathered from the best South Seas lore. The Shrunken Head Bar has seriously outstanding wood architecture. The sculptured props are works of art, albeit somewhat kitschy. For an unpretentious change of pace, Psycho Suzi’s is a great place for any occasion, or just lounging around.
Related: Best Secret Bars In Minnesota
Billy’s Bar & Grill
214 Jackson St.
Anoka, MN 55303
Although little is said about its beginnings, this casual bar and grill is allegedly haunted by ladies of the night and other ghosts from Minnesota’s history. Built as a hotel for loggers in 1877, in 1885 it became the scene of a murder. Other rumors of a lurid nature surfaced, but some were later dismissed or found to be untrue. Anyway, the former Anoka Hotel is now a popular burger, beer and sports bar. At Billy’s you can have a beer or a burger and watch sporting events on wide LCD screens.
Buster’s On 28th
4204 28th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
A comfortable neighborhood gastropub at South 28th Ave. and East 42nd St., Buster’s has the cornerstone ambiance of a Prohibitions speakeasy. But the pub opened in 2007. The beer and burgers make this gastropub iconic. The menu features a variety of burgers, sandwiches and other affordable eats. The desserts are from a nearby iconic bakery. The pub leans more towards sturdy pub grub than strong drink. Although the pub does not openly publish a drinks menu (a Prohibition throwback), it does serve beer, wine and spirits and alcohol-free beverages.
Related: Best Burgers In The Twin Cities