Some outsiders consider it flyover country. Others are dissuaded by the weather. But Minneapolis’ proud celebration of its Midwestern character—winters and all—is exactly what makes its drink scene worth exploring. The city’s thriving craft beer industry uses traditional styles as a jumping off point to create unique seasonal brews. Along with gin and whiskey, craft distilleries produce aquavit in a nod to the region’s Scandinavian heritage. Cideries rely on locally grown apples, and there’s even a burgeoning wine industry based on cold weather-hearty grapes.
The up-and-coming Northeast and trendy North Loop neighborhoods garner most of the attention from locals and visitors alike. However, it’s worth venturing further afield to areas that both reflect the city’s diversity and are home to artisan distilleries, cideries, and neighborhood pubs. Here are some places to drink like a local in Minneapolis—start planning a visit to discover more for yourself.
Bordered by the Mississippi River, Northeast is a sprawling neighborhood at the epicenter of Minneapolis’ vibrant craft beer scene. Use history to navigate—streets are named after the U.S. presidents in the order they served, from Washington to Coolidge.
With kitschy decor, a patio overlooking the Mississippi, and an appetizer menu that includes tater tots, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge is the Minnesota version of a tiki bar. Served in fabulously tacky mugs, drinks are made with premium spirits, housemade syrups, and fresh fruit.
Located at the intersection of University and 22nd Avenue Northeast, Hai Hai serves Southeast Asian-inspired street food and tropical craft cocktails. Alcoholic slushies take their cues from classic cocktails, like the gin-based Singapore Fling.
In an industrial area a block off Monroe Street Northeast, Indeed Brewing Company is known for its wide-ranging lineup of flagship beers, seasonal releases, and barrel-aged beers. The taproom was the first in Northeast and is open daily.
Just across the street, Popol Vuh offers elevated French-inspired Mexican cuisine and an inventive agave-focused bar program. The adjacent fast-casual Centro serves tacos, oysters, and cocktails on tap.
On the other side of the train tracks, Tattersall Distilling produces nearly two dozen spirits and liqueurs, including carraway-forward aquavit, rye whiskey, fernet, and creme de cacao. The cocktail room’s extensive menu is designed to best highlight each spirit and includes handy symbols indicating each drink’s sweetness.
Nearby Sociable Cider Werks uses hops and grains to add body to its ciders, made from fresh-pressed Minnesota and Michigan apples. Seasonal ciders incorporate additional ingredients such as habañero peppers, lemons, cranberries, and mulling spices.
Back across the tracks, Bauhaus Brew Labs brews German-inspired beers with a creative twist. The taproom’s bright, whimsical color scheme and expansive patio make it a popular local hangout.
At the south end of the neighborhood on East Hennepin Avenue, fine dining restaurant Bardo offers seasonal American cuisine, craft cocktails, and a wide-ranging wine list featuring more than 250 bottles. Suggested wine pairings—especially with the tasting menu—are unexpected and delightful.
Located just northwest of downtown, the North Loop is a former industrial neighborhood that takes its name from the trolley line that once served the area. Today, it’s a trendy neighborhood home to tech startups, and historic warehouses have been repurposed into lofts, boutiques, and restaurants.
Nestled into a basement on Washington Avenue, craft cocktail bar Parlour uses classic recipes as the basis for drinks made with housemade syrups and artisan spirits. The food menu includes a cheeseburger considered by many to be the best in the city.
A few blocks away on North Third Street, Modist Brewing Co. works backwards from the desired flavor profiles to create unique beers that are unbounded by traditional style guidelines, like a cold press coffee lager and German IPA.
Back on Washington Avenue, Tulibee is a Nordic-inspired restaurant and bar in the Hewing Hotel, a stylish boutique hotel housed in a former warehouse. Cocktails highlight local spirits, and the beer list features selections from more than a dozen local breweries.
A few blocks towards the river on North First Street, Spoon & Stable is one of Minneapolis’ most coveted reservations. Luckily, the bar is first-come, first-served, and diners can order from the full dinner menu while savoring a craft cocktail or glass of wine from the wide-ranging list.
Less than a block away on North Second Avenue, The Bachelor Farmer highlights seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients—some herbs and vegetables are even grown on-site on the rooftop farm. Fittingly, the restaurant’s impressive wine list focuses on cooler-climate wines from small, independent producers.
Located downstairs from The Bachelor Farmer, Marvel Bar serves original cocktails made with unique ingredients such as nori and licorice root.
Home to a stretch of Nicollet Avenue known as “Eat Street,” the Whittier neighborhood south of downtown is renowned for dozens of restaurants that represent a world’s worth of cuisines; within the space of a few blocks, diners can find pho, pizza, spätzle, tacos, jerk chicken, gourmet donuts, and more.
Just west of Nicollet Avenue on 26th Street, Eat Street Social offers creative brunch cocktails, seasonally inspired riffs on classic cocktails, and handcrafted sodas made with bitters and housemade syrups. The food menu highlights contemporary American fare.
Around the corner on Nicollet Avenue, Icehouse is an industrial chic restaurant, bar, and music venue. Drinks include eclectic craft cocktails, sophisticated sipping shots, American whiskeys, and local beers.
A primarily residential neighborhood, Longfellow’s main thoroughfare is East Lake Street, where businesses and restaurants reflect the area’s cultural diversity.
A grain-to-glass distillery located in an industrial area on East 32nd Street, Du Nord Craft Spirits mills, mashes, and distills local grains into spirits including gin, vodka, and coffee liqueur. The cocktail room offers a rotating menu of seasonal and experimental cocktails.
Located on East Lake Street between 30th and 31st Avenues, Urban Forage Winery & Cider House makes cider, mead, and wine from locally sourced fruit, flowers, and honey, including produce harvested from neighborhood residents’ yards. The gin botanical cider incorporates spent botanicals from Lawless Distilling Company in the adjacent Seward neighborhood.
Several blocks east on East Lake Street at the 36th Avenue South intersection, Merlins Rest is a neighborhood British Isles pub with one of the best whisky selections in the city—over 340 single malt Scotch whiskies and 118 Irish whiskies.
Around the lakes
Minneapolis’ nickname is “City of Lakes,” and the trails around Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet make them popular with walkers and joggers year-round. Lakeside neighborhoods range from trendy Uptown to residential Linden Hills.
Located on West Lake Street at the north end of Bde Maka Ska, Trapeze is an intimate bubbles bar offering unique champagnes, sparkling wines, and cocktails.
The Uptown outpost of local beer hall chain New Bohemia on West Lake Street offers 36 local and international craft beers, 24 different varieties of sausage (including wild boar, smoked elk, and alligator), and pretzels sized to feed the whole table.
Martina has become a destination restaurant in the Linden Hills neighborhood, with Argentinian-inspired wood-fired cuisine, an expansive wine list with intriguing South American selections, and elaborately garnished craft cocktails. Insiders know to arrive early and order the Egg, a brunch cocktail served in a glass made of ice—only a handful are offered each day.
Two blocks south of Lake Harriet, on West 50th Street, Italian restaurant and wine bar Terzo boasts a wine program with more then 300 Italian wines sourced from independent and classic producers. The by-the-glass list features rotating selections from a variety of regions.