15 Best Bars in Minneapolis & St. Paul

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Twilight Minneapolis skyline with city lights

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 these bars and many more unique options for a night out in this sprawling metropolis in our list of the best bars in the Twin Cities.

Although we could list fifty different bars to try out while visiting, we’ve narrowed the list down to the best bars in both Minneapolis and St. Paul (and that’s tough). It’s one of the more popular things to do in Minneapolis among the locals.

Locals know Minnesota is home to fantastic museums, lakes, and cute lake towns like Excelsior. We’ll take you on a tour of the bars around the Twin Cities. Be sure to stop in and check out one or two of these local favorites.

Best Bars in Minneapolis

Best European Pub: Brit’s Pub (Downtown Minneapolis)

Rooftop Lawn Bowling at Brit's Pub
Lawn Bowling at Brit’s Pub (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Address: 1110 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55403, United States

Brit’s Pub is a staple restaurant known as the unofficial British Embassy, making it one of the must-visit pubs in Minneapolis for its amazing European tap beer list and lawn bowling. They also have a full bar and always serve the best European soccer matches.

It’s a staple for summer happy hour with all the worker bees in downtown Minneapolis, given its amazing patio. You can grab some pretty good pub food served in traditional British form, such as fish and chips, pot pie, chips, and all the staples.

Best speakeasy: Volstead’s Emporium (Uptown)

Live Band Performance at Volstead's Emporium
image by DSWeimar/TripAdvisor

Address: 711 W Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55408, United States

Volstead’s Emporium in Minneapolis is a must-see for any travel enthusiast. This hidden gem is located in an alleyway, and finding it is well worth the effort. Their craft cocktails are some of the best in the Midwest.

The emporium takes its name from the Volstead Act, which established Prohibition in the United States. Volstead’s official address is 711 W Lake Street, but it can be tricky to find.

The best way to locate the emporium is to exit the back alley and turn around a few dumpster doors. Once inside, you’ll be amazed by the number of people in this hidden corner of Minneapolis.

See Related: Best Indoor Activities in Minnesota

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 state. As soon as you walk in, you feel the atmosphere is completely different from any other surrounding bars.

Sumo wrestling is always on television, generating a unique ambiance and a part of the experience in Moto-i. Where else can you leisurely watch a few sumo wrestling matches in Minnesota? Not many places.

They have been brewing American sake since 2008 and have playful adaptations of original Japanese sake. Some other delicious selections they have on their menu include drunken noodles and steamed 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. The champagne-like bubbles taste light and refreshing, while the back endnotes are hit with slight alcohol and fresh fruit. It’s a beautiful combination, indeed.

See Related: Minnehaha Falls Overview

Up-Down (Whittier-Uptown)

Interior of Up-Down, Minneapolis
Up-Down / Facebook

Address: 3012 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408, United States

If you want to unleash your inner child, this is the place in South Minneapolis. Boasting over 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, this is a bar worth checking out. Stocked with over sixty beers on tap and a fully stocked bar sprawling half the space’s length, their selection is nothing short of impressive.

While their coin-operated arcade games can have lengthy lines, they offset the crowd by providing outside seating in the back 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.

See Related: Best Lake Street Restaurants

LITT Pinball Bar (Lowry Hill)

LITT Pinball Bar  interior and Pinball Mchines
LITT Pinball Bar / Facebook

Address: 2021 Hennepin Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55405, United States

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 themes. Some pinball machines they use are rare, with a few tables being produced in numbers less than 1,000.

Some could even be considered vintage because a few 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, LITT can give you everything you want on a night out.

See Related: Best Takeout Restaurants in Minneapolis

Parlour (North Loop)

Parlour Bar Minneapolis

Address: 730 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States

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 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.

Intimate and cozy Parlour Bar interior with vintage decor in Minneapolis
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Parlour offers a great array of old-school drinks that all (legal) ages can enjoy! You will see why this has been rated on our list of best bars.

Make sure you try the Parlour Burger with your craft beer or cocktail. My go-to is an old-fashioned, easily one of the best in town. They have a locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul, so pick your poison.

See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in Minnesota

Psycho Suzi’s (Northeast Minneapolis Arts District)

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge interior in Minnesota
Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge / Facebook

Address: 1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418, United States

Voted one of the best tiki bars in America by Food Network, Psycho Suzi’s is a destination you should be sure to visit. Located in the beautiful Northeast Arts District, the lively surrounding area will leave you wanting to explore more. Once you’re done having a few tiki drinks at Psycho Suzi’s.

With possibly the most leopard print and tiki-themed furniture in any establishment in Minnesota, and maybe even the entire United States, you must see Psycho Suzi’s with your own eyes to understand what they have accomplished truly. Inside is just the beginning.

With two levels and multiple bars, this restaurant has no shortage of booze. The outside is almost as special as the inside quarters. The outside patio overlooks the incredible rushing waters of the Mississippi River.

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 in the summer 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 is 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. Make sure you are dressed in your appropriate leopard and/or tiki attire to experience the full effect of this tiki bar.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Minneapolis?

Hewing Hotel (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)

Hewing Hotel Front

Address: 300 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States

Let us be the first to say that you must check out the Hewing Hotel if you like rooftop bars. If you weren’t in love with the city before catching this skyline view, you would be after visiting the Hewing in the warmer months of summer.

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. The hotel guests can be avoided completely by using the doors and hanging a quick left towards the elevators. This place is all about luxury, so dress the part.

Minneapolis skyline from Hewing Hotel rooftop highlighting historic and modern buildings
View of the Minneapolis Skyline from the rooftop bar (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

A fully stocked bar is the first thing you see when exiting the elevator. Accompanied by beautiful glass pane windows, walking onto 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 as one of the best bars. Pictures snapped and a few delicious cocktails later, the Hewing Hotel will leave you wanting one more before the night ends. There’s a reason why we called this one of our favorite Minneapolis hotels.

See Related: Day Trips from Minneapolis

The Monte Carlo (North Loop)

Monte Carlo Minneapolis

Address: 219 N 3rd Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States

Established in 1906, this is one of Minneapolis’s most renowned bars and eateries. Anyone looking for an expensive night out should start at The Monte Carlo. The copper-topped bar adds an extra ” class ” level to your drink as it slides across the slick countertop.

This bar is another great place to have classic cocktails (they pour strong drinks!) and eat before or after a Minnesota Twins game. This place is known for its wings (and great burgers), and they are worth the hype!

Elegant Monte Carlo restaurant interior with vintage decor in Minneapolis
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

This is a well-known and desired destination for many, making it tough to get into at times, but if you’re lucky enough to find a spot, have a beautifully crafted cocktail on their outdoor patio. Be sure to make reservations ahead of time.

See Related: Things to do Along the Riverfront

Best Dive Bar: Grumpy’s (Northeast)

Grumpy's Bar, a dive bar in Minneapolis
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 2200 4th St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418, United States

Grumpy’s is a dive bar that has been open since 1901, offering great neighborhood vibes (I mean, it looks like a house). It’s obvious why it’s been called the best bar in Minnesota. There are often cross-sections of the city at Grumpy’s, where tattoo-filled biker gangs will drink alongside business-dressed locals.

Everyone always has fun here, and there are events like the Drink’n Spell’n Bee on Saturday, which you need to play. It’s so fun! You get a drink for every spelling bee round, and the words get harder as you continue, not just because you’re drinking more, either.

Happy Hour Specials and Drinking Spelling Bee at Grumpy's Bar
Be at the Drink’n Spell’n Bee at 7 pm sharp. (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

A wide selection of craft beer is available, and those who drink traditionally will be impressed by the line of tall-boy cans. This neighborhood bar is an essential visit at least once, whether you’re from the area or just visiting. If you’re stopping in on a weekday, be sure to take advantage of their incredible happy hour.

See Related: Minneapolis vs St. Paul

J.D. Hoyt’s (North Loop)

JD Hoyts in Minneapolis

Address: 301 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States

J.D. Hoyt’s is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, claiming a stake as a well-known bar and restaurant in Minneapolis. This old-style steakhouse is acclaimed for its atmosphere and many 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 a fully serviced bar.

They have an impressive selection of beers as well as a full cocktail and wine menu. This restaurant does not have a stellar reputation in Minneapolis for nothing, as it has weathered an ever-growing city, and the location could not be beaten.

The building is 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.

See Related: Top-Rated Restaurants in the Twin Cities

Billy After Dark

Fish-shaped cocktail at Billy's Sushi Minneapolis
How can you not love cocktails like this? (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Address: 116 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States

Set in the lower level of Billy’s Sushi, this club is a great spot for after-dark vibes, hence the name. You’ll find DJs spinning house music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Kyle Kroeger enjoying fish-shaped cocktail at Billy's Sushi Minneapolis
Yeah, it tastes as good as it looks (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Given this spot’s trendiness, you may need to wait. Billy’s Sushi is also one of the top sushi restaurants in Minneapolis, so many late diners end up at the club afterward. You can make table reservations for bottle service in advance if you want to turn it up a notch. This is our favorite of the underground bars in the city.

Young Joni

Restaurant interior of Young Joni in Minnesota
Lucasvdw / TripAdvisor

Address: 165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413, United States

Young Joni is a popular pizza spot with amazing cocktails, wine, and craft beer. Ann Kim, one of the city’s top restauranteurs, founded it. You’ll need a reservation well in advance to get the full menu and dine here. But that’s not why we are here. There’s a side speakeasy, as you can see below. Yes, that’s the entrance.

Entrance to Young Joni's Speakeasy Cocktail Bar
The door to the speakeasy at Young Joni (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

You may need to wait to get in as it’s trendy and an excellent overflow option if you don’t have a reservation for the restaurant. They offer a smaller menu but even better cocktail and drink options. It’s indisputably one of the best speakeasies in the Midwest.

Best Bars in St. Paul

Find yourself venturing on the other side of the Mississippi River. Check out these best bars in Saint Paul.

The Lexington (Summit Hill)

Exterior of The Lexington, St. Paul
The Lexington / Facebook

Address: 1096 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105, United States

The St. Paul institution existed until reopening prohibition, but now Lexington is back and better. The 60-person roof terrace is ideal for baking and enjoying the shade and boasts a bar that specializes in a variety of traditional cocktails. Try the Lex cups: lemon sage, lemon ale, and Earl Grey gin.

This place is truly historic and has a great old-world feel with great food right in the heart of Summit Hill. If you’re in town in the winter, Lexington offers up one of the best cocktail rooms in the Twin Cities.

See Related: Things to Do in Saint Paul

Moscow on the Hill (Cathedral Hill)

Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota

Address: 371 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102, United States

Moscow on Hill has some of Russia’s finest cuisine in the Twin Cities. So it’s natural also to be the best vodka bar in the city. When you visit Moscow on the Hill, you’ll quickly realize the pages on pages of drinks exclusively for vodka.

Currently, there are more than 50 brands of vodka to choose from, and there are several more great cocktails and martini drinks on the menu. But it’s fascinating with their home-produced “vodka-infusion” cocktails that have more than 20 different flavor combinations.

W.A. Frost and Company (Cathedral Hill)

Wine and Cheese Plate at W.A. Frost and Company
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: 374 Selby Ave #1825, St Paul, MN 55102, United States

W.A. Frost and Company is a great place to grab European small plates and a cocktail, beer, or wine, with an excellent selection of both. The food is made from scratch, with some of the best comfort food.

The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, perfect for groups or couples alike. It’s a great patio spot in the summer and even a cozy spot during those stormy winter days with its underground bar and lounge.

If you’re looking for someplace upscale yet unpretentious—and if you’re hungry—this is the place to go. The service is also outstanding: friendly bartenders will make sure you have everything you need (and more). In terms of location, it’s right in Cathedral Hill of Saint Paul, making a great spot before heading to a Wild game, theater, or concert.

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.

Honorable Mention

Other options to check out if you’re looking for a good pint or cocktail:

Bar Name Address Rating Price Range Happy Hour Specials
The Local 931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402 4.4 $$ 3-6 PM, Mon-Fri
Tattersall Distilling 1620 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 4.8 $$ 4-6 PM, Tue-Fri
The Freehouse 701 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401 4.5 $$ 3-6 PM, Mon-Fri
The Commodore Bar & Restaurant 79 Western Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102 4.6 $$ 3-6 PM, Mon-Fri

FAQs

Does Minneapolis have good nightlife?

Minneapolis’ evenings showcase the diversity and innovative live music scene. Blues and jazz clubs are often preferred, but there’s also an excellent selection of music venues from rock to reggae.

What are the best cocktail bars in the Twin Cities?

There are several great places for cocktails in the Twin Cities, including the Lexington in Saint Paul, the Hewing Hotel rooftop in Minneapolis, and the many excellent local distilleries such as the Royal Foundry Craft Cocktails and Norseman Distillery.

What is the oldest bar in Minneapolis?

The oldest bar in Minneapolis is Palmer’s Bar. Established in 1906, it has been a popular spot for locals and tourists. Despite changing ownership and undergoing renovations over the years, Palmer’s Bar has maintained its historic charm and continues to serve up cold drinks and live music in a welcoming atmosphere.

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Related Resources

Editorial Note: This article was originally written by Quinn McClurg and was recently revised in 2024 by Kyle Kroeger after visiting the Twin Cities.

Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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