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15 Best Bars in Minneapolis & Saint Paul, Minnesota

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.

Best Bars in Minneapolis, MN

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 in the Twin Cities. So be sure to stop in and check out one or two of these local favorites, there are more than a few options.

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

Rooftop Lawn Bowling at Brit's Pub
Rooftop Lawn Bowling at Brit’s Pub

Brit’s Pub is a staple restaurant in Minneapolis for its amazing European tap beer list and lawn bowling. They also have a full bar and are always serving up the best European soccer matches.

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

Best secret cocktail bar: Volstead’s Emporium (Uptown)

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

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

The emporium takes its name from the Volstead Act, which established Prohibition in the United States. The official address of Volstead is 711 W Lake Street, but it can be tricky to find. The best way to locate the emporium is to take the exit of 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. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience and creative cocktails, Volstead’s Emporium is certainly worth a visit.

See Related: Best Indoor Activities in Minnesota

moto-i ramen and sake (Whittier-Uptown)

Moto-i Minneapolis

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 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. 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 endnotes are 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

Up-Down (Whittier-Uptown)

Up-Down Minneapolis

If you are looking to unleash your inner child, this is the place to go in South Minneapolis. 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 of 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: Best Lake Street Restaurants

TILT Pinball Bar (Whittier)

Tilt Pinball Bar

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 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 on a night out on the town.

See Related: Best Takeout Restaurants in Minneapolis

Parlour (North Loop-Near North)

Parlour Bar Minneapolis

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. 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.

See Related: Most Famous Landmarks in Minnesota

Psycho Suzi’s (Northeast Minneapolis Arts District)

Psycho Suzi's Minneapolis

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 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 this tiki bar has to offer.

See Related: Best Beaches in Minneapolis

Betty Danger’s Country Club (Northeast Minneapolis Arts District)

Betty Danger's Minneapolis

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 itself 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 its 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 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.

See Related: Do You Need a Car in Minneapolis?

Hewing Hotel (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)

Hewing Hotel Front

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 the city before catching this view of the Minneapolis skyline, you will be after a visit to the Hewing in the 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.

Through the doors, and hanging 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 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 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. There’s a reason why we called this one of our favorite Minneapolis hotels.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Minneapolis

The Monte Carlo (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)

Monte Carlo 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 classic cocktails (they pour strong drinks!) 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 into 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

Best Dive Bar in Minneapolis: Grumpy’s

Grumpy's Bar Interior
image by Grumpy’s/Facebook

Grumpy’s is a dive bar in Minneapolis that has been open since 1901. It’s obvious why it’s been called the best bar in Minnesota – it has something to match the vibe of the neighborhood.

There are often cross-sections of the city at Grumpy’s; tattoo-filled biker gangs will be drinking alongside dressed businesses and, though the name Grumpy’s sounds familiar, everyone always has fun here.

A wide selection of craft beers is available, and those that drink traditionally will be impressed by the line of tall-boy cans. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or just want to try some of the best beer in Minneapolis, Grumpy’s is the place to go.

See Related: Minneapolis vs St. Paul

J.D. Hoyt’s (North Loop-Central Minneapolis)

JD Hoyts in 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 the list of best bars in downtown Minneapolis for many reasons.

Royal Foundry Craft Spirits (Bryn Mawr)

Royal Foundry Craft Spirits Interior in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is slowly building up quite the selection of distilleries and Royal Foundry makes the list because of its unique approach. This local distillery with a traditional British theme serves up wonderful whiskey, gin, and vodka cocktails.

The back patio features a track cycling arena, which is a traditional British cycling race. It’s the only one in the entire state! Beyond this, the interior is a large, open space that features plenty of games and frequently hosts events. This is one of the best bars in Minneapolis for those looking for a unique drink menu.

See Related: Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities

Best Bars in St. Paul, Minnesota

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

The Lexington (Summit Hill)

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 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: Best Things to do in Saint Paul, MN

Best vodka bar: Moscow on the Hill (Cathedral Hill)

Moscow on the Hill in St. Paul, Minnesota

Moscow on Hill has some of Russia’s finest cuisine served in the Twin Cities. So it’s natural to also 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 really fascinating with their home-produced “vodka-infusion” cocktails that have more than 20 different flavor combinations.

W.A. Frost and Company

Wine and Cheese Plate at W.A. Frost and Company

The 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 around.

The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, making it 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). As far as location goes, it’s right in Cathedral Hill of Saint Paul, making a great spot before heading to a Wild game, theatre 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.


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 great local distilleries such as the Royal Foundry Craft Cocktails and Norseman Distillery.

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