Best Bars in Minneapolis, MN

I grew up in Minneapolis and come “home” quite a bit.  Every time I do, I find myself meeting old friends in the various bars in Minneapolis. Naturally, I wanted to provide an insider’s peek into the “top bars in Minneapolis MN” and highlight some of the places that continue to draw me in, while also talking about some of the new bars in Minneapolis. Escape the guesswork and dive straight into a lineup of watering holes where exceptional drinks and unique vibes await. No hype, just a hassle-free path to some of the best bars Minneapolis, MN has to offer, where you’ll definitely hear some great Minnesota sayings!

Minneapolis Bars and Where to Drink Around Town

  • Downtown Minneapolis is a haven for diverse drinking experiences, including the mezcal-heavy cocktails at Little Tijuana and the vintage charm of Brit’s Pub, offering unique cocktails and traditional British fare.
  • The North Loop is appreciated for exceptional bars with artisanal offerings like Spoon and Stable for seasonal cocktails, Earl Giles for its lush ambiance and drinks, and Giulia with Italian wines and Northern Italian cuisines.
  • Minneapolis’ hidden speakeasies and basement bars like Volstead’s Emporium, Billy After Dark, and Prohibition Bar, offer an eclectic mix of Prohibition-era drinks, LED starry skies, and stunning city views for a memorable nightlife adventure.

A Night Out in Downtown Minneapolis

When the sun sets and the city lights start to twinkle, there’s no better place to be than downtown Minneapolis. Known for its swanky atmosphere and diverse drink selections, downtown Minneapolis is a haven for cocktail enthusiasts and beer lovers alike. With a lineup of bars that are as unique as they are inviting, it’s no wonder that this neighborhood is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

From the mezcal-heavy cocktails at Little Tijuana Neighborhood Lounge to the live music at Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill, downtown Minneapolis offers something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a specialty cocktail or a unique beverage experience, you won’t have to look far.

Are you excited to delve into the vibrant nightlife of the Twin Cities?

Meteor Bar

Tucked away in the heart of the city, Meteor Bar is a testament to the charm of neighborhood bars. Its features include:

  • Grungy appearance, decorated with punk concert posters and a restored original wooden bar
  • Laid-back ambiance, making it an appealing spot for relaxation
  • Imaginative and complex drink specials that change weekly

Don’t let the laid-back ambiance fool you, this bar is known for its creative and delicious craft cocktails, setting it apart from other bars.

From a Granny Smith Manhattan to a cocktail of creamy nutmeg, vodka, and oat milk, Meteor Bar takes pride in its innovative offerings. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ve expanded their menu to include cocktail flights, complete with elaborate presentations and snacks. No matter if you’re in the industry or just seeking a chill spot to unwind, Meteor Bar is certainly worth a visit.

Little Tijuana Neighborhood Lounge

If you’re in the mood for a cocktail with a twist, head over to Little Tijuana Neighborhood Lounge. Known for its mezcal-heavy cocktails and eclectic decor, this neighborhood bar is the perfect spot for a fun night out. With fairy lights and a disco ball adding to the stylish yet cozy vibe, Little Tijuana is more than just a bar – it’s an experience.

But it’s not just about the cocktails. The food selection, which includes snacky cauliflower bites and near-flawless waffle fries, is just as impressive. With good, fast service from personable staff, Little Tijuana proves to be an ideal spot for both quick meals and leisurely dining experiences. Why not savor a Perfect Margarita, relish some delectable bites, and let the evening take its course?

Brit’s Pub

Brit's Pub rooftop lawn bowling

For those who crave an authentic British pub experience, Brit’s Pub is the place to be. With its dark wood interiors, cozy fireplace, and prime downtown location, this pub transports you straight to the heart of Britain. But it’s not just about the atmosphere. Brit’s Pub offers a selection of traditional British ales and a menu with favorites such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, cottage pie, and Scotch eggs.

Looking for something more? Brit’s Pub has you covered. An expansive, well-maintained English garden and a rooftop lawn bowling green provide patrons with unique outdoor recreational experiences. Add to that live music, events, and screenings of European football matches, and you’ve got a spot that’s beloved by locals and visitors alike.

Be it a sports fan, a foodie, or merely a fun seeker, Brit’s Pub is a destination not to be missed.

North Loop Gems

north loop minneapolis

As we venture away from downtown Minneapolis, we find ourselves in the North Loop neighborhood. Known for its exceptional bars that blend style and diversity in their drink offerings, North Loop is a destination in its own right. From Meteor Bar, known for its fantastic, straightforward cocktails, to Billy After Dark, a sleek speakeasy famous for its LED starry ceiling and fine Japanese whiskies, North Loop offers an exciting mix of experiences.

With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that North Loop has become a hotspot for locals and visitors alike. So whether you’re looking for a place to unwind after a long day or a venue to celebrate a special occasion, North Loop won’t disappoint.

Eager to discover the wonders of this neighborhood’s eat street?

Spoon and Stable

Leading the charge in the North Loop’s culinary scene is Spoon and Stable, a bar that’s as innovative as it is inviting. Led by Jessi Pollak, who was named America’s best bartender of 2022, Spoon and Stable is known for its creative drinks. But what sets this bar apart is its emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients, a hallmark of both their dishes and cocktails.

With a team of highly skilled bartenders, Spoon and Stable is a haven for cocktail enthusiasts. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic or looking to try something new, you’ll find that each drink is a work of art, crafted with precision and passion. Why not settle in, request a drink, and relish the unique flavors of Spoon and Stable?

Earl Giles

Next on our North Loop tour is Earl Giles. Here’s what makes it special:

  • Unique atmosphere with lush living plants decorating its interior
  • Inventive drink menu that aligns perfectly with its captivating ambiance
  • Selection of delicious food

Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur or simply looking for a place to unwind, Earl Giles offers a unique experience. With its lush decor, inventive drinks, and delicious food, it’s no wonder that this bar has become a favorite among locals.

Why not swing by Earl Giles and discover what makes it stand out in North Loop?

Giulia

Set in a renovated former bank building, Giulia offers an elegant backdrop that fuses history with a contemporary edge. The bar features a curated selection of Italian wines, an extensive amari list, and unique small-batch cocktails prepared with local craft spirits. But it’s not just about the drinks.

Diners at Giulia can enjoy a robust food menu that includes Northern Italian specialties like small plates, artisanal fresh pasta, and pizzas cooked in a traditional oven. Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail, a glass of fine Italian wine, or a hearty Italian meal, Giulia offers an experience that’s as satisfying as it is unique. Why not treat yourself to a touch of Italian flair in the pulsating heart of North Loop?

Cuzzy’s

A trip to the North Loop isn’t complete without a stop at Cuzzy’s dive bar.  An old gem that never disappoints, this unpretentious bar is a great place for a quick beer or casual night out.

Cuzzys

Uptown Adventures

As we leave North Loop, we find ourselves in Uptown Minneapolis, a neighborhood known for its speakeasies and unique bar scene. With its cozy atmospheres, diverse cocktails, and delicious food options, Uptown offers a laid-back yet vibrant experience. From the retro-chic ambiance of Young Joni Back Bar to the expertly crafted cocktails at Nightingale, Uptown is a paradise for those looking for a unique bar experience.

Whether you’re in the mood for a tropical cocktail at Hai Hai or a funky drink creation at Young Joni Back Bar, Uptown has something for every taste. And with so many options to choose from, why stop at just one? With its casual and engaging environments, Uptown is an ideal hotspot for bar-hopping enthusiasts. Why not set off on a captivating Uptown escapade?

Young Joni Back Bar + Kim’s Bronto Bar

Our first stop in Uptown is Young Joni Back Bar, a cozy, retro-chic speakeasy known for its funky cocktail offerings. With its laid-back ambiance and unique drinks, Young Joni Back Bar offers a contrast to the bustling city life outside, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

But it’s not just about the cocktails. With its cozy interiors and welcoming staff, Young Joni Back Bar is a place where you can unwind, connect, and create memories. Why not order a drink, nestle into a cozy seat, and let the evening unfold?

Nightingale

Next up is Nightingale, a bar that offers a casual yet polished atmosphere. Known for its expertly crafted cocktails and attentive service, Nightingale is a beloved spot in the revitalizing Uptown Minneapolis. Whether you’re in for a ‘The Adults are Talking’ or a ‘Saffron Sour’, you’ll find that each drink is a testament to the craftsmanship that goes into it.

But it’s not just about the drinks. Nightingale also caters to the neighborhood with tasty bites and a curated selection of drinks. Whether you’re looking for a place to start your night or a spot to unwind after a long day, Nightingale promises an experience that’s as refined as it is inviting.

Hai Hai

If you’re in the mood for something different, Hai Hai is the place to be. Known for its Southeast Asian dishes and inventive tropical cocktails, Hai Hai offers a unique dining and drinking experience featuring tropical fruits. Whether you’re sipping on a lychee slushie or tucking into a plate of shrimp toast, you’ll find that each bite and sip is a journey in itself.

But it’s not just about the food and drinks. With its vibrant decor and welcoming atmosphere, Hai Hai encapsulates the essence of Southeast Asia. Why not deviate from the usual and immerse yourself in a world of tropical flavors at Hai Hai?

Hidden Speakeasies and Basement Bars

As we venture into the secret world of hidden speakeasies and basement bars, you’ll find that Minneapolis has more than a few surprises up its sleeve. From the secretive entrance of Volstead’s Emporium to the enchanting atmosphere of Prohibition Bar, these hidden gems offer an experience that’s as unique as it is exciting.

Whether you’re in the mood for a period-inspired cocktail at Volstead’s Emporium or looking to enjoy breathtaking city views at Prohibition Bar, these hidden speakeasies and basement bars promise an unforgettable night out at some of the best bars in town.

Are you set to unravel the secrets hidden within Minneapolis’ nightlife?

Volstead’s Emporium

Stepping into Volstead’s Emporium is like stepping back in time. This low-lit speakeasy offers Prohibition-era cocktails in a setting that’s as secretive as it is enticing. With a red light marking its entrance in an alley, Volstead’s Emporium promises an experience that’s as thrilling as it is unique.

But it’s not just about the secrecy. With its period-inspired cocktails and hidden entrance, Volstead’s Emporium offers an ambiance that’s straight out of the Prohibition era. Why not delve into a slice of history while savoring a cocktail or two at Volstead’s Emporium?

Billy After Dark (B.A.D.)

Next up is Billy After Dark, a hidden speakeasy that’s as mysterious as it is captivating. Located beneath Billy Sushi, this dimly lit bar features a starry LED sky that sets the mood for an enigmatic night out. And with a drink menu that features enigmatic concoctions, Billy After Dark promises an experience that’s as unique as it is exciting.

Whether you’re in the mood for a color-changing cocktail or looking to enjoy a night under a starry sky, Billy After Dark offers a unique experience. With private booths for intimate gatherings and a dance floor for those looking to let loose, this hidden speakeasy is a must-visit for blood orange enthusiasts and dance clubs lovers alike. The red neon light adds to the vibrant atmosphere, making it a memorable night out.

Prohibition Bar

Perched on the 27th floor of Foshay Tower, Prohibition Bar offers a step back in time. With its vintage cocktails and historical aura, this bar recreates the allure of the 1920s and 30s. But it’s not just about the drinks. Prohibition Bar also offers breathtaking views of the city, making it an ideal spot for a nightcap.  This is located in the W Hotel.

From the smoked glass ‘Jackie Diamond’ to the stunning city views, Prohibition Bar offers an enchanting experience. Why not conclude your night on a memorable note with a cocktail or two at Prohibition Bar?

Themed Bars for a Unique Experience

As we come to the end of our journey, let’s explore some of the themed bars that make Minneapolis’ bar scene so unique. From Gori Gori Peku’s Japanese whisky and sake selections to Upstairs Circus’ DIY craft projects, these bars offer a unique experience that goes beyond the traditional drink menu.

Whether you’re a whisky connoisseur, a craft enthusiast, or just looking for a unique night out, these themed bars offer something for everyone, including a selection of Irish whiskeys. Why not break away from the norm and immerse yourself in a realm of distinctive experiences?

Gori Gori Peku

For those who appreciate Japanese spirits, Gori Gori Peku is a must-visit. Specializing in Japanese whisky and sake, this bar offers a niche experience for enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a curious beginner, the knowledgeable experts at Gori Gori Peku can guide you through the rare and exquisite selections available.

But it’s not just about the spirits. With its focus on specialized spirits, Gori Gori Peku offers a distinct and memorable experience for those seeking to explore Japanese whisky and sake. Why not relish a touch of Japanese elegance and spend an evening at Gori Gori Peku?

Khâluna

Next up is Khâluna, a Laotian-style restaurant that offers award-winning non-alcoholic beverages. With unique ingredients such as masala chai, bacopa, and monk fruit, Khâluna offers a fresh perspective on mocktails. From the ‘Strawberry Shrub Limeade’ to the ‘Black Tea Refresher’, each drink is a testament to the creativity that goes into it.

But it’s not just about the mocktails. Khâluna also offers creatively crafted tonics, providing a unique experience for those looking for a refreshing drink. Whether you fancy a mocktail or a tonic, Khâluna promises a unique experience that is bound to delight.

Upstairs Circus

Our final stop is Upstairs Circus, a bar that offers a unique twist on the traditional bar experience. Here, the world of drinks merges with DIY, inviting customers to take part in creative craft projects while sipping on their beverages. From leather working to jewelry making, Upstairs Circus offers a range of projects, making it an ideal spot for a fun night out.

But it’s not just about the crafts. Upstairs Circus also offers locally curated specialty drinks, wines, and brews, all crafted into circus-themed concoctions. Whether you fancy a DIY project or simply wish to enjoy a drink, Upstairs Circus provides an experience that blends uniqueness with fun.

Now, if you want to get to the South side of Minneapolis and cross a jucy lucy off your bucket list, head on over to Matt’s Bar.

Summary

As we conclude our journey, it’s clear that Minneapolis’ bar scene is as diverse as it is captivating. From the swanky atmosphere of Downtown Minneapolis to the unique bars in Uptown, from the hidden speakeasies and basement bars to the themed bars that offer unique experiences, Minneapolis promises an unforgettable night out.

So whether you’re a local looking to explore new spots or a visitor looking to dive into the city’s nightlife, Minneapolis has something for everyone. With its diverse bars, innovative cocktails, and unique experiences, this city is a testament to the magic that happens when creativity meets passion. So why not embark on your own journey and discover what makes Minneapolis’ bar scene so special?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Minneapolis have good nightlife?

Minneapolis has a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene with options ranging from luxe nightclubs to LGBTQ+ venues and EDM spots, offering something for everyone.

Where is the heart of downtown Minneapolis?

The heart of downtown Minneapolis is located in the West neighborhood, which contains the majority of high-rise office buildings in the city. So, when most people think of “downtown,” they are picturing this area.

What is bar time in Minneapolis?

In Minneapolis, bars are permitted to stay open until 2 a.m., an hour later than the previous closing time of 1 a.m. Some bars in Downtown Minneapolis with an extra license can stay open until 4 am on certain days.

Which neighborhood has the best nightlife in Minneapolis?

The best neighborhood for nightlife in Minneapolis is Downtown Minneapolis, which is dense with office towers, sleek hotels, and numerous places to enjoy the nightlife, including various nightclubs and bars. Downtown Minneapolis offers a diverse range of nightlife options catering to different preferences.

Which bars in Minneapolis offer a unique experience?

You can experience something truly unique at bars like Gori Gori Peku, Khâluna, and Upstairs Circus in Minneapolis, where you can enjoy Japanese whisky, sake selections, DIY craft projects, and circus-themed concoctions.

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About 

Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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