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Twin Cities Bar and Brewery Rankings 2024

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Many factors play into the rankings: drink prices, amenities, etc, but at it’s core each bar is ranked based on the probability that you’ll have a good time. The rankings only include bars I’ve been to, some of which I’ve only been to once and others I’ve been to many times so there’s sample size bias. All that being said, my reasoning for each ranking is fairly thorough. Without further ado, here’s the Twin Cities bar rankings: 

1. Up Down

With a rooftop bar, 50+ arcade games, and pizza being served till bar close, Up Down is the best bar in the Twin Cities for a night out AND one of the best spots for a first date in my opinion. It’s hard to not have a good time at Up Down and it can get busy any day of the week. Their best deals are on Thursday ($.10 tokens), Friday ($2 pizza till 8pm), Saturday (2 for 1 tokens til 9pm), or Sunday (6 pack of beer and a pound of tokens for $25).

With one of the best rooftop bars in the city and live music every Friday and Saturday, this downtown bar gets packed every weekend. They also have affordable drinks and lots of TVs that make it a good spot to watch sporting events. Both in terms of the size of this bar as well as the number of customers this is probably the biggest bar in the Twin Cities.

Whether you like to dance, play games, watch sports, or just drink and socialize Last Call has you covered. Personally, this is one of my favorite bars because they have affordable drinks and several different games in their upstairs area. 

This probably the most versatile bar in the Twin Cities. Located in the bottom of a warehouse Can Can Wonderland is one of the best arcade bars in the state, but it also has mini golf, pool, and regular activities and events like karaoke, live music, and comedy open mics. Check out their site to see their events.

@visitsaintpaul Take a break from winter fun for indoor fun at @cancanwonderland_mn 🍕🍹👾 link in captions for more fun indoor attractions ⬇️ #MYSAINTPAUL #saintpaulminnesota #minnesota #travel #exploremn #fyp #winter #stpaulmn ♬ Sugar, Sugar - The Archies

To be honest this isn’t a nice bar, but it is definitely a fun bar. Located in the historic Dinkytown neighborhood at the University of Minnesota this is one of the most iconic college bars in Minnesota. My favorite nights  are Thursday when they have Karaoke or Sunday for their Comedy Open Mic.

Amsterdam Bar and Hall, nestled in the heart of downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, is a vibrant venue known for its unique blend of bar, restaurant, and music hall. This eclectic spot is celebrated for its diverse lineup of live music, ranging from local indie bands to renowned international acts, offering patrons an intimate concert experience. Alongside the entertainment, Amsterdam serves a variety of craft beers and spirits, as well as a menu featuring Dutch-inspired pub fare, making it a popular destination for both music enthusiasts and foodies.

The Hewing Hotel rooftop bar is located in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis, known for its hip atmosphere, trendy hotspots, and innovative bars and restaurants. This area is bustling with activity both day and night, making it an ideal location for a rooftop bar like the one at Hewing Hotel. The bar offers a unique experience in a vibrant and lively part of the city.

Billy’s After Dark is an exclusive, underground bar that serves as the nocturnal counterpart to the renowned Billy Sushi in Minneapolis. It’s a place where the art of mixology is celebrated, and guests are treated to an intimate and sophisticated drinking experience. This hidden gem, nestled beneath the bustling streets, offers a cozy and moody ambiance, perfect for those seeking a more private and upscale nightlife option. The focus at Billy’s After Dark is on crafting exceptional cocktails, each made with precision and flair, making it an ideal spot for cocktail enthusiasts. Their neon angel wings are also one of the most instagrammable shots in the city.

Patrick McGovern’s in St. Paul stands out as a quintessential Irish pub, renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and authentic charm. Best times to visit this local favorite are:

  1. St. Patrick’s Day: As an Irish pub, St. Patrick’s Day at Patrick McGovern’s is a must-experience event. The pub celebrates with special menus, live music, and a festive atmosphere that captures the true spirit of this Irish holiday.
  2. Sports Events: Located right next to the Excel Energy Center Patty’s is a great spot for food and drinks before or after attending a hockey game. The pub often draws a crowd of sports fans, making it a fun place to watch major games and events as well. 
  3. Summer Evenings: The outdoor patio at Patrick McGovern’s is a delightful spot during summer evenings. It’s a perfect setting for enjoying a meal or a drink outdoors in the pleasant Minnesota weather.
  4. Weekends: The pub comes alive on weekends, making it the perfect time to experience its bustling energy. Whether you’re looking for a lively dinner or a vibrant late-night scene, weekends at Patrick McGovern’s are a delight.

  5. Happy Hours Mon-Fri 3-6pm

The Gay 90’s, a legendary nightclub in Minneapolis, is known for its vibrant and diverse atmosphere. As the largest Gay bar in the Twin Cities (and perhaps even the biggest bar overall in terms of size), this iconic venue features multiple bars, dance floors, stages, and a room with pool and arcade games. It’s a hub for the LGBTQ+ community and welcomes everyone looking to have a good time. The Gay 90’s is also famous for its drag shows so be sure to check that out if that’s your thing. 

As another top performing speakeasy, this establishment is known for its atmospheric, moody backlit bars and sophisticated drink menus. It stands out as a must-visit destination for those seeking expertly crafted cocktails, fine wines, and a unique selection of craft beers and ciders. The ambiance of Volstead’s Emporium captures the essence of a bygone era, making it a perfect place for those who appreciate the finer aspects of a spirited drink scene​​.

These rankings will be changed and expanded each week as I return to some of these bars and visit new ones. Follow us on Instagram (@quest_mn), and Tik Tok (@quest_mn_) to stay up-to-date on changes to the rankings as well as other content related to dining, nightlife, and recreation in the Twin Cities.

 

Rankings continued

Rumba

  1.  Punch Bowl Social

  2. Sneaky Pete’s

  3. Prohibition Bar

  4. Pourhouse

  5. Station 280

    Palmers 

  6. Basement Bar

  7. Camp Bar

    Parlor

  8. Billy’s on Grand

  9. Tom’s Watch Bar

  10. Mortimers

  11. Conga Latin Bistro

  12. Sally’s Saloon

  13. Green Room

  14. Ties Uptown

  15. The Loft

  16. Kollege Klub

  17. Brit’s Pub

  18. Patrick McGoverns Pub

  19. Plum’s

  20. Burrito Loco

  21. Daisys Bar & Rooftop lounge

  22. Crave Rooftop

  23. Jimmy’s Pro Billiards

  24. Tiffany’s Sports Lounge

  25. Jackson Hole

  26. The Corner Bar

  27. Cuzzy’s

  28. Nye’s bar

  29. The 1029 Bar

  30. Moxy

  31. Como Tap

  32. Loop

  33. Terminal Bar

  34. VFW

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