Is anyone else ready for a drink? We sure could use one. Possibly on a rooftop overlooking the city? Or a classic arcade game-filled bar? You can find all of these bars and many more unique options for a night out in this sprawling metropolis, in our list of the best bars to visit in downtown Minneapolis.
Although we could list fifty different bars to try out while visiting, we’ve narrowed the list down to the top ten best bars in downtown Minneapolis (and that’s tough). There is no shortage of good bars in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities as a whole.
It’s one of the more popular things to do in Minneapolis among the locals. Locals know, that Minneapolis and Minnesota as a whole are home to some awesome museums, lakes and cute lake towns like Excelsior.
Table of Contents
List of Top Bars in Minneapolis (Neighborhood Gems)
Starting on the south end of town and working north, we’ll take you on a tour of the bars we may think to make the cut.
So be sure to stop in and check out one or two of these local favorites, there are more than a few options.
10. moto-i ramen and sake (Whittier-Uptown)
Coming in at number ten on the list is a local favorite, moto-i. This bar is unique in and of itself. This is one of the only sumo themed bars in the Minneapolis area, if not all of Minnesota. As soon as you walk in, you feel the atmosphere is completely different than any of the other surrounding bars.
Sumo wrestling is always on the television, generating a unique ambiance and a part of the experience you get in moto-i. Where else can you go to leisurely watch a few matches of sumo wrestling in Minnesota? Not many places.
They have been brewing American sake since 2008 and have playful adaptations on original Japanese sake. Some other delicious selections they have on their menu include drunken noodles and steam buns. Either choice will leave you wanting to order another round to go.
Bubbling sake is yet another unique offering in moto-i. This is some of the best sake in the state, without a doubt. That is why many residents consider moto-i one of the best bars in uptown Minneapolis. The champagne-like bubbles leave a light and refreshing taste, while the back end notes hit with slight alcohol and fresh fruit. A beautiful combination, indeed.
Nestled in between the beautiful neighborhoods of Lyndale and Uptown, moto-i is the place to go to start your evening out. Or, if you’re looking for a nightcap, end your night at moto-i with the mellowed-out vibe.
Catch a sumo match or two, and sip on the delicious home-brewed sake they have to offer.
See Related: Minnehaha Falls Overview
9. Up-Down (Whittier-Uptown)
If you are looking to unleash your inner child, this is the place to go. Boasting more than 50 classic arcade games from the 1980s and ’90s, four pinball machines, four skeeball alleys, a Nintendo 64 projected onto a massive screen, and life-sized Jenga and Connect 4.
Acclaimed by locals as one of the go-to best bars in uptown Minneapolis, this is a bar worth checking out. Stocked with over sixty different beers on tap, and a fully stocked bar that sprawls half the length of the establishment, their selection is nothing short than impressive.
While their coin-operated arcade games can have lengthy lines, they offset the crowd by providing outside seating in the back equipped with chairs, and standing heaters for the fall season.
This is where you can find life-sized Jenga, shuffleboard, and Connect 4. They’ve even renovated to include a second level of fun including karaoke and a rooftop.
Although a little busy at times, there is something at Up-Down for everyone. Whether you are into old arcade games or beating your friends at a little Mario Kart on Nintendo 64, you will likely find something to fit your style of game.
Not to mention classic arcade games mixed with a delicious cocktail or two; what could be a better combination?
See Related: 11 Best Lake Street Restaurants
8. TILT Pinball Bar (Whittier)
This bar has everything a full-grown kid could want, alcohol and pinball. We can’t think of too many other destined combinations besides this.
The pinball machines range from era-specific tables, to more modern themed. Some of the pinball machines they have in use are rare, with a few tables being produced in numbers less than 1,000.
Some of them could even be considered vintage in the fact that a few of the machines date back to 1993. Ouch.
With twenty-five era-themed pinball machines within the establishment, their selection is impressive. The pinball machines aside, they also hold a wide variety of drink selections.
A fully stocked bar, with multiple taps offering beer from all the top local breweries, TILT can give you everything you are looking for in a night out on the town.
See Related: Best Takeout Restaurants in Minneapolis
7. Parlour (North Loop-Near North)
Well known for their stylish takes on cocktails, Parlour creates a fresh outlook on a classic drink. The foundation of classics includes the perfect martini and Parlours’ take on an old-fashioned and gimlet. These freshly updated drinks stick to the classic ingredients in a cocktail, but give a slightly updated approach and feel to the drink. This is a perfect bar to enjoy a relaxing atmosphere and a modern vibe.
The Parlour offers a great array of old school drinks that can be enjoyed by all (legal) ages! We think you will see why this has been rated on our list of best bars in downtown Minneapolis.
6. Psycho Suzi’s (Northeast Minneapolis Arts District)
Voted one of the best tiki bars in America by Food Network, Psycho Suzi’s is a destination you should be sure to visit in Minneapolis. Located in the beautiful Northeast Arts District, the vibrant surrounding area will leave you wanting to explore more. Once you’re done having a few tiki drinks at Psycho Suzi’s, of course.
With possibly the most leopard print and tiki-themed furniture in any establishment in Minnesota, and maybe even the entire United States, you have to see Psycho Suzi’s with your own eyes to truly understand what they have accomplished. Inside is just the beginning.
With two levels and multiple bars, there is no shortage of booze in this establishment. The outside is almost as special as the inside quarters. The outside patio overlooks the incredible rushing waters of the Mississippi River. Sprawling across impressive square footage, the patio hosts another fully stocked bar, lounge chairs, tables, and outdoor fireplaces with seating for the fall season. We all know Minnesota loves a good outdoor patio to drink on.
Psycho Suzi’s is the place to be if you are looking for a party. People from all over have been partying there since 2003. Weekends are packed with people both inside and out. There are many drinks to try, some are not for the weak-hearted.
They have a variety of fun-loving cocktails.
One being a small fishbowl with a bright blue concoction (meant to be shared with friends). And another comes pre-lit with fire, as your server brings it out to you. These are just a few examples of what you may experience if you plan on partying at Psycho Suzi’s.
Make sure you are dressed in your appropriate leopard and/or tiki attire to experience the full effect this tiki bar has to offer.
5. Betty Danger’s Country Club (Northeast Minneapolis Arts District)
Coming in at number five of the top ten best bars in downtown Minneapolis is Betty Danger’s Country Club. Not really a standard country club you may be thinking of, Betty Danger’s has coined themselves a “Kooky Country Club”. With a fresh take on classic drinks, this bar has an impressive drink selection that can keep the thirst away while exploring the Northeast Arts District on a hot summer day.
Although this bar is well-known for its drinks, the real reason this bar is such a catch is that it offers a ride on their Ferris wheel as it takes you on a journey to the top to enjoy the skyline views of downtown Minneapolis.
A drink and a Ferris wheel ride overlooking the city of Minneapolis, this is one unbeatable combination. They also offer an outdoor mini-golf course, where you can walk your way around their “kooky” course. Get your drink on before, during, or after you’ve played a round of mini-golf.
Betty Danger’s offers a unique experience both inside and out. Inside, you can find whacky decor and drinks. The margaritas are what really sell the place. They even offer two different types of “Palm Springs Antioxidant Cocktails”, yes made with booze of course.
And a few different cocktails named after the sport itself such as “Tennis” or “Horse Racing”. There is a drink here for everybody, even if you aren’t a typical “Country Club goer” because Betty Dangers is definitely not your typical country club.
You’ll want to be sure to check it out for yourself in the heart of the Northeast Arts District in downtown Minneapolis.
4. Hewing Hotel (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)
Let us be the first to say if you like rooftop bars then you absolutely have to check out the Hewing Hotel. If you weren’t in love with Minneapolis before catching this view, you will be after a visit to the Hewing.
Disclaimer: yes, this is a hotel. But, no you do not have to be a guest to grab one of their mouth-watering cocktails on the roof with all of downtown Minneapolis laid before you. Through the doors, and hang a quick left towards the elevators, the hotel guests can be avoided completely. This place is all about luxury, so make sure to dress the part.
A fully stocked bar is the first thing you see when exiting the elevator. Accompanied by beautiful glass pane windows, walking on to the rooftop area is a sight to be seen with your own eyes. Some would dare call it “breathtaking“.
The Hewing Hotel earns its way onto a spot in being one of the best bars in downtown Minneapolis. Engulfed amid downtown Minneapolis, you are in the heart of the city.
A few pictures snapped, and a few delicious cocktails later, the Hewing Hotel will leave you wanting one more before the night ends.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Minneapolis
3. The Monte Carlo (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)
Established in 1906, this is one of the most renowned bars and eatery’s in Minneapolis. Anyone looking for a swanky night out should start it at The Monte Carlo. The copper-topped bar adds an extra level of “class” to your drink as it slides its way across the slick countertop.
This bar is another great place to have a cocktail and eat before or after a Minnesota Twins game. This place is known for its wings and they are worth the hype! The Monte Carlo is well-known and the desired destination for many, making it tough to get in to at times; but if you’re lucky enough to find a spot, go have a beautifully crafted cocktail on their outdoor patio.
You’ll be able to take in all of Minneapolis centered in the heart of downtown.
See Related: Things to do Along the Minneapolis Riverfront
2. Little Tijuana (Whittier)
Coming in at number two on the list, we have Little Tijuana or Little T’s as the locals call it. Their knock-out food is not the only thing they offer. Their drink selection is impeccable, and the bartenders are not afraid of concocting a drink that is truly unique to you.
Consider yourself warned, the margaritas are the size of small fishbowls!
Boasting a lengthy lineup of celebrities that have walked through their doors, Little Tijuana has every right to boast. They are more than just a bar and restaurant, but a staple in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Little Tijuana has served names such as Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Prince, and Soul Asylum to name a few.
Even though it is located in the heart of Minneapolis, Little T’s has a small-town feel to it. The owner can usually be found within, working alongside staff members, and chit-chatting with the patrons.
Little T’s offers wonderful customer service, and the owner aims to make you feel like family as she waits on customers. You could not ask for a better first time at an unfamiliar restaurant and bar. This is by far one of the most fun experiences to have at the best bar in downtown Minneapolis.
Beware, only the locals know this secret. If you mention it’s your birthday or are celebrating with someone…whoever’s birthday is in for birthday spankings corresponding to how old they are. This is quite an experience at a fun bar for a birthday in Minneapolis.
The older you are, the more fun is guaranteed at Little T’s!
See Related: Minneapolis vs St Paul
1. J.D. Hoyt’s (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)
J.D. Hoyt’s is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, claiming stake as a well-known establishment in Minneapolis. This old-style steakhouse is acclaimed for its atmosphere and a wide variety of cocktails.
You’ll be transported from modern times to the Art Nouveau era as soon as you step through the swinging doors! Glorious smells waft from one of the few indoor charcoal grilles still used in Minneapolis today.
The joint features a full wall length mirror for scoping out your fellow bar dwellers, and of course a delectable fully serviced bar.
They have an impressive drink selection as well as a full cocktail and wine menu.
J.D. Hoyt’s does not have a stellar reputation in Minneapolis for nothing. This establishment has weathered an ever-growing city, and the location could not be beaten. The building is very close to Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins major league baseball team.
If you’re looking for the best bar near U.S Bank Stadium, home of the football team the Minnesota Vikings, J.D. Hoyt’s is just down the way. After dinner, you could easily walk to either location to catch a late-night sporting event with friends or family.
This is a prime option for drinks and food before or after attending a sporting event.
This bar has earned its way to the top spot on to the list of best bars in downtown Minneapolis for many reasons. Once you’ve hit all these spots, you’ll likely need a good breakfast spot in the morning. These are some of the best breakfast places in Minnesota.