If your idea of nightlife includes hitting a bar for drinks and socializing, then our Minneapolis guide is just what you want. Capitalizing on first-hand experience and extensive research, we've located the best bars in Minneapolis for hanging out and kicking back in. From long-lived mainstays like Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar to busy places like Drink that get lots of 10Best reader approval, we present the top bars in town and offer details about them all. What's the energy like? How do the bartenders pour? Are most bars located in the Downtown area? No fear - we share all the facts!

Nomad World Pub
A popular haunt in the West Bank neighborhood, Nomad has definitely earned its stripes among Minneapolis bars. On top of great happy hour specials each week, the pub offers a wide slate of diversions. Monday is the beloved team trivia night, and Nomad's management books everything from DJs and hip-hop acts to New Orleans-style jazz throughout the rest of the week. The beer selection here is also impressive, to say the least. (612-338-6424)

Keegan's Irish Pub
You don't have to be a Keegan to taste the stout at this University Avenue pub, but it'll certainly earn you some cool points if you brush up on your Irish history and aren't afraid to sing a song or two. The only pub in the state to receive the Irish Pub Concept designation from the good folks at Guinness Brewing, Keegan's boasts a lovely Edwardian interior that was actually designed and built by craftsmen in Waterford and transported to the US in 2002. From the fireplace down to the wall coverings, Keegan's is as Irish as they come! (612-252-0880)

The Herkimer Pub & Brewery
There's no chance of mistaking The Herkimer Pub & Brewery for anything other than what it is: a paradise for beer lovers. The polished bar and beer stills on display make sure of it. Featuring 16 of their own handcrafted beers and a late-night menu, this pub is an excellent place for laid-back conversation and savory brews. (612-821-0101)

Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar
One of few wine bars in Minneapolis, and arguably the best, Lucia's is a charmingly intimate 30-seat venue, elegantly outfitted with mirrors and contemporary artwork. The bar presents an excellent selection of beer and wine, while the restaurant serves upscale appetizers, light, fresh fare and divine desserts. Their red, white and sparkling wines hail from around the world, and patrons can sample them by the glass and by the bottle. (612-825-1572)

A whimsical retro theme recalls the '70s and '80s at this relaxed downtown bar and lounge. Enjoy nightly specials on food and drink (occasionally including a buffet of wings and nachos) as you try to spot Farrah Fawcett and Leif Garrett among the publicity stills that plaster the walls. As the evening progresses, the after-work crowd gives way to trendier club-hoppers, ready to dance the night away to pop, rock, and hip-hop on Drink's dance floor. Groups are welcome and a VIP section is available upstairs. (612-659-9000)

Ike's Food & Cocktails
Ike's plays up the supper club concept quite well with its vintage booths, hardwoods, kitschy framed memorabilia, and even old school-caliber mixed drinks. Burgers (good ones) and shakes characterize the afternoon offerings, and the kitchen serves up a handful of larger portions in the evenings — usually including a steak, blue plate special, and seafood dish. Eating aside, one look at the bar will tell you this retro spot is good destination for evening cocktails, and if you come during the work week, expect awesome happy hour prices on eats and drinks. (612-746-4537)

O'Donovan's Irish Pub
Built in Ireland and shipped to the USA piece by piece, O'Donovan's offers a wonderful pub experience complete with the requisite Murphy's, Harp and Guinness collectibles, a cool mural of an Irish rugby match, and even cozy fireside seating (excellent in the winter months). Owner Dermot Cowley is a native Irishman and makes certain that HP Brown Sauce and Heinz Baked Beans aren't the only authentic imports you'll encounter here — expect plenty o' that legendary Irish hospitality as well! (612-317-8896)

Among bars in Minneapolis, Grumpy's is something of a tradition for Twin Cities locals. The summer patio offers a pleasant place to sit back and enjoy a beer from their vast selection of imports and domestics. Keep an eye on the kitchen if you're hungry -- Grumpy's has homemade frozen pizzas that are sure to go well with whatever you're drinking, and the staff has been known to send out complimentary platters of grilled cheeses! (612-789-7429)

Bar Abilene
Ropes and saddles foster a Southwestern theme at this upscale hangout, furthered by delicious Tex-Mex cuisine and a truly exhaustive tequila selection (about 100 brands). A pleasant patio provides a place to eat and drink on temperate evenings, but you'll probably want to move inside as the night progresses and the singles scene picks up. Choose from a healthy array of beers on tap, or get in the spirit with a signature margarita like the Green Iguana — one of over 25 'rita choices. DJs get your toes tapping on weekends. (612-825-2525)

Kieran's Irish Pub
Around since the mid-1990s, this attractive pub remains one of the most popular local bars in Minneapolis. The decor is as authentic as can be: dark stained wood, bric-a-brac celebrating Ireland in general and Guinness specifically, and an expansive bar. There's live music on the weekends (usually Celtic) and a traditional session on Wednesday nights beginning at 9pm. Other forms of weekly entertainment include trivia nights, book clubs, open mic nights and even poetry slams. (612-339-4499)

Maps and Directions

Nomad World Pub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Live Music, Pub
Neighborhood: WEST BANK
Keegan's Irish Pub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Pub
Neighborhood: DINKYTOWN
The Herkimer Pub & Brewery 10Best List Arrow
Type: Brew Pub
Lucia's Restaurant and Wine Bar 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Wine Bar
Neighborhood: Uptown
Drink 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Dance Club, Lounge
Neighborhood: Downtown
Ike's Food & Cocktails 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Lounge
Neighborhood: Downtown
O'Donovan's Irish Pub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Pub
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
Bar Abilene 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar
Neighborhood: UPTOWN
Kieran's Irish Pub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Pub
Neighborhood: DOWNTOWN
comments powered by Disqus