Beers near Mears
All summer long the Music in Mears series (6 p.m. Thursdays) brings free entertainment to St. Paul's Mears Park. There's just one thing missing from the music and movie cocktail: cheap booze. Luckily, Lowertown has discounted hooch-peddlers aplenty, where pre-show imbibing won't sap your wallet.
Faces Mears Park
380 Jackson St., St. Paul • 651-209-7776 • www. facesmearspark.com
With the most geographically descriptive name ever, Faces' park proximity makes the contemporary fusion joint a natural pairing with your next Music in Mears endeavor. A daily happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. adds extra incentive, as domestic taps, house wine and rail drinks are $4. Selected small plates, including salmon cakes and chicken tulips, fetch $5 apiece.
Bin Wine Bar
400 Sibley St., #150, St. Paul • 651-224-9463 • www.binwinebar.com
Not only can the nearby vino parlor boast some of the most genuinely friendly service around, but Bin's happy hour deals are equally warming. Enjoy $3 beers, $4 house wine and rails from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Come with a crew and nibble tacos and cheese plates at a buy-two-get-one-free clip.
241 E. 7th St., St. Paul. • 651-291-9638 • www.gopherbar.com
If you prefer a hole-in-the-wall hangout to having to feign refinement, get down to the Gopher Bar and check your class at the door. Sure, sucking down rail drinks by the pair for $5 during its 4 to 7 p.m. happy hour (Tuesday-Saturday) is a good play, but the real steal is $1.50 taps anytime -- the most appropriate way to wash down the highly touted Coney dogs.