The holiday season can be an all-out war between self-discipline and an endless barrage of pies, cookie trays and gravy-soaked leftovers. But it’s important not to let the caloric incursion disrupt your social itinerary. Since cutting out happy hour between Thanksgiving and Christmas is not an option, look for bars and restaurants that might be kind to your waistline.
2610 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. • 612-870-7855 • www.bluestembarminneapolis.com
French Meadow has been operating on a healthier tip for years, and its adjoining Bluestem Bar is on the same organic page. Stop in during the daily 3-5 p.m. happy hour for $3 taps, $2-off wines and $6 eats. As bar snacks go, Bluestem’s pan-roasted Brussels sprouts make a smarter choice than a mountain of nachos.
3311 E. 25th St., Mpls. • 612-722-4474 • www.birchwoodcafe.com
There’s no need to go into dining-out hibernation with this Seward cafe offering lighter fare. Grab a black bean quinoa burger or maybe some tempeh tacos on a Monday or Tuesday night and score half-priced wine bottles from 5 p.m. till close. Remember, wine calories don’t count.
901 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. • 612-252-7000 • www.marinrestaurant.com
It’s only fitting that a restaurant named after a California county is going to skew health-conscious. Snag a spot in the bar area weekdays from 3-6 p.m. and take $2 off taps, wines by the glass and well drinks, and enjoy $5 flatbreads. Just don’t expect Grandma to list her dishes’ calorie and carb counts like Marin does.