The Bar Guide 2013: University

Updated 4/10/2013

Bars in The West Bank, dinkytown and stadium village Cater to students and postgrads alike.

Live music and “no crap on tap” at West Bank beer bistro Acadia Cafe.

Acadia Café

329 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. • 612-874-8702 • www.acadiacafe.com

This West Bank beer bistro is a Solo cup’s throw from the U of M campus, but hardly attracts a contingency of Jäger-bombing frat bros. The Acadia is a favorite among graduate students and beer-fluent flight-sippers — note its “no crap on tap” mantra. There’s no need to call over a waitress to fetch you a high-quality pint (or pitcher), as the food and drink is all counter service. While the Cedar-Riverside haunt caters to a cask-savvy crowd, it’s impossible to have live music in this town without offering PBR tallboys. Performers are typically of the singer/songwriter variety, and take the small stage most nights. Michael Rietmulder

Burrito Loco

418 13th Av. SE., Mpls. • 612-746-5626 • www.burrito-loco.com

There’s no need to go drunkenly grab Chipotle when you get sauced at Burrito Loco’s upstairs bar. Just go downstairs for, what else?, a burrito. B-Loco keeps the drinks cheap and the food specials flowing. Every evening, with the exception of 29-cent wing night on Wednesdays, there is a free food item to accompany every pitcher of beer or margaritas ordered. As a college bar, they also feature beer pong and on Sundays you can flip for free drinks. S.D.

Aster Cafe

125 SE. Main St., Mpls. • 612-379-3138 • www.aster-cafe.com

A stroll on the river, a glass of wine and thou. Bohemie, la belle vie, a graceful turn off the beaten path of bars, pubs and clubs. A terrace café that’s jumped right off a Van Gogh canvas. Beyond its sprawling New Orleans-style courtyard, this civilized venue offers live music most nights, light bites designed to share, and plenty of libations for pairing. This is romance, and the rest is up to you. Mecca Bos

Kitty Cat Klub

315 14th Av. SE., Mpls. • 612-331-9800 • www.kittykat klub.net

As the name may suggest, Kitty Cat Klub is an eclectic place, a bar whose interior could have been furnished by some proprietor of a curio store. Chandeliers of unknown origin light rooms with no real unifying theme other than their lack of a unifying theme. Seemingly antique paintings overlook mismatched furniture and unfinished brick walls. The bar itself, the live-music stage and the loungey setting have made the KCK a Dinkytown darling. In a neighborhood of college bars, this place bucks the trend, providing an offbeat sojourn and an almost coffee-shop atmosphere. A daily happy hour knocks beers, wines and rails into the $2-$3 range. Spencer Doar

Stub & Herbs

227 SE. Oak St., Mpls. • 612-379-0555 • www.stubandherbsbar.com

More than 70 years old, Stub & Herbs has the right to make shirts that say “Your grandpa drank here.” Stub & Herbs does have a timeless quality. From local Surly, Lucid and Lift Bridge brews to Oregonian and Coloradan crafts, more than 30 taps sit behind the burnished bar; happy hour knocks a dollar off of all of them. They’ve got Rogue Whiskey tapped too! A patio is opened in warmer weather. A side room, encompassed in a greenhouse-like array of windows, is the home for pool and other games. While their “cocktails and dining emporium” teaser may sound dated, Stub & Herbs remains a classic place to grab a pint of suds. S.D.

Blarney Pub & Grill

412 14th Av. SE., Mpls. • 612-331-1527 • www.blarneymn.com

What is there to say about Blarney’s that can’t be said about dozens of other Irish bars? It’s fairly spacious and adorned with a United Nations array of Big Ten flags. Tables made of wooden casks are arrayed around a fireplace. Signage is styled to bring a Euro-pub to mind. Plop your butt on a stool to grab a two-for-one happy hour cocktail and watch sports on one of 17 televisions — that is, if you haven’t taken Blarney’s shuttle to the Golden Gopher game of your choice. S.D.

The Hole Sports Bar

2501 University Av. SE., Mpls. • 612-331-7474 • www.theholesportslounge.com 

This TV-focused spot lies a block away from TCF Bank Stadium. With an array of Panasonic electronics, a pool table and assorted games, the Hole is poised to be a Minnesota sporting haven for the east side of campus. A two-for-one happy hour runs seven days a week and extends from special drinks to tap beers — a decent selection including Summit, Surly, Indeed and the requisite sporting domestics. S.D.

The Library

1301 SE. 4th St., Mpls. • 612-604-1900 • www.librarybars.com

Cheap drinks- and specials-driven, the Library is a TV-laden college drinking mecca. With a large, lobby-like lower level, the Library has some room to breathe even on crowded nights. Head upstairs for more seating and TVs and a few pool tables. Wednesdays feature free bacon for as long as it lasts. S.D.

Nomad World Pub

501 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. • 612-338-6424 • www.nomadpub.com

In this long banquet hall of a saloon, music is a nightly occurrence and an array of art can be seen on the walls. Frequent soccer events are paired with beers, and outdoor bocce courts are available — hence the “world” in the bar’s name. For those really jonesing after a rough day at work, the Nomad features an ever-present $5 special: a PBR, a shot and a ciggie. S.D.

Republic

221 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. • 612-338-6146 • www. republicmn.com

Republic isn’t just one of the best beer bars in the state. According to Draft Magazine, it’s one of the top 100 craft-crazy pubs in the country. Thanks to a discerningly selected bajillion taps (well, more like 57) and a good rapport with local breweries, the Seven Corners saloon has become Minneapolis’ premier beer lodge (although Republic’s Uptown location might have something to say about that). M.R.

 

Town Hall Brewery

1430 Washington Av. S., Mpls. • 612-339-8696 • www.townhallbrewery.com

Like a good brewpub, Town Hall offers its own libations as well as those of others. Beyond the main bar, you’ll find a dining room overlooked by the stainless steel of Town Hall’s brewing equipment. Opened in 1997, the bar is an exercise in antiquity — pop on a sepia filter and your Instagrams will look straight out of Prohibition. Happy hour knocks their beers down a dollar. S.D.