So, you’re going to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis.
Let us be the first to extend a hearty Midwestern hello. Despite the fact that most of us Minnesotans are still licking our wounds from that NFC Championship shellacking, that doesn’t mean we’re any less eager to welcome you to our state. Congratulations, Patriots and Eagles fans. You did it. Well, your team did it, but you get to come watch them play in Minneapolis.
You could probably spend your entire Twin Cities stay within the dozen or so square blocks of downtown Minneapolis, but it will get crowded. So, why not get out and explore a little bit? That said, there’s a lot to consider. Where to go, what to wear, which bars have dollar bills on the walls, how much pizza do you want to eat, what lamp posts to climb, where to shop? That’s a lot of questions. And, you don’t have to answer all of them. And, don’t climb our lamp posts. Because that would be cold and exhausting. And you’re here for fun.
That’s where SixSpeed comes in. We’ve got people. The kind of people who have spent myriad hours and dollars around the Twin Cities. We know some stuff. Not everything, but some stuff—and we want to share our knowledge with you. So, give this informal, informative, incomplete insider’s guide to the Twin Cities a read and enjoy yourself while you’re here.
YOU’RE PROBABLY THIRSTY. MAYBE A LITTLE HUNGRY. GIDDY UP.
Although lutefisk and hotdish abound in the land of lakes, the Twin Cities food and drink scene is one of the best in the nation. From iconic dive bars to James Beard Award winners, we got you. Let’s take a written trip to a few haunts that feel like home no matter where you’re from.
This little gem is tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in South Minneapolis and serves up one of the best tasting menus around. $50 gets you a six course meal of some of the most mind blowing seasonal dishes you could ever dream of. Best to play it safe and call ahead beforehand though as Tenant has been known to have a month’s long waiting list.
Steven Brown, Tillia’s head chef, has been a James Beard semi-finalist almost every year since Tillia opened its doors. If that’s not enough to convince you to give them a try, maybe their mouthwatering carbonara or tantalizing hanger steak will. Just trust us, this is worth the trip.
Bull’s Horn $
Doug and his lady Amy, semi-recently bought the bar and it’s the kind of place you’d expect to find in a small town. Well, it’s in South Minneapolis right off Highway 55 at 46th and 34th. It looks old, feels cool and has a menu loaded with unpretentious eats (think smoked pork shoulder and fried bologna sandwiches).
Merlin’s Rest $
Nestled on East Lake Street in Minneapolis, Merlin’s is a weird little place you should visit if you miss your homeland of Scotland. You’ll also like it if your homeland is elsewhere. You might see kilts, there could be bagpipes, the fish and chips are great and there will be Scotch. Lots and lots of Scotch.
Located downtown Minneapolis, Gluek’s offers live music, gigantic pretzels and an extensive beer menu. The place has been around since the ‘30s and it looks like it. It has a classic beer hall vibe and is a welcome retreat from $15 cocktail lounges. Plus, it’s just three light rail stops away from US Bank Stadium.
The Nook $
Take a trip east to the other Twin City (St. Paul) and you’ll find The Nook. “A Small Place With Big Burgers,” as it is proudly displayed on their awning. If huge burgers served in a hole-in-the-wall type setting is your style, then you won’t find anything better in town. Pro-tip: take a minute to check out the little bowling alley downstairs.
Mancini’s Char House & Lounge $$
Anchored on St. Paul’s West 7th street, Mancini’s is an old bar with a classy vibe. Once known as a hangout for Frank Sinatra and the likes when they were in town, it’ll make you want to drink Old Fashioneds and smoke cigars with some old guy named Sid. Fantastic steaks, red vinyl booths, strong, cheap cocktails—Mancini’s is a treat from another time.
Author’s Note Stereotyping Inbound Fans: If you’re looking for a cheese steak, check out Frank From Philly. Lobster Roll? Smack Shack. Lobster Mac? 1029. Breweries? There are many and most of them are good.
IT’S FUN TO DRINK AND RIDE. HERE’S A QUICK LIGHT RAIL BAR CRAWL THAT YOU CAN RUN WITH.
February in Minnesota is cold. But, lucky for you, the Twin Cities has an easily accessible Light Rail. If you’re looking for a way to sample a few watering holes and stay out of the cold, we suggest a pub crawl along the Blue Line light rail.
The Blue Line runs from downtown Minneapolis to the airport. Let’s just say you’re starting downtown, alright? Alright. Downtown Minneapolis has a few stops from one end (Target Field) to the other end (US Bank Stadium). We’ll start at the home of the Minnesota Twins and work our way south.
Target Field Platform:
Head to the Fulton brewery. It’s a nice spot with board games, lots of beers and they usually have a food truck outside. The entire North Loop neighborhood is packed with some of the city’s best bars and restaurants, so by all means, stick around the area for a while and explore.
The eclectic bar crowd in this neighborhood is sure to lead to a good night. Start at The Loon, walk around from there to Kieran’s, Glueks, Pizza Luce, and if you’re dying to ride an electric bull, visit Cowboy Jack’s.
This newly renovated pedestrian mall in downtown Minneapolis is packed full of Super Bowl events including free concerts, the Polaris UpsideDowntown snowmobile stunt show, Super Bowl Live show and the American Birkebeiner International Bridge. There’s also a host of bars and restaurants along the Mall that are worth a bundled-up walk to.
US Bank Stadium Station:
The home of the Minnesota Vikings and host to the Super Bowl, US Bank Stadium is the crown jewel of East Downtown. Hop off the train and head to Blarney Pub, It’s only two blocks away. While there, you can partake in a Hamm Job—a can of Hamm’s beer and a shot of Jameson—and it’ll only cost you a few bucks. After you’ve had your fill, hop back on and let the magical journey continue.
South Minneapolis had a wide variety of drive bars to choose from, but none better than The Cardinal Bar, give it a whirl if you’re looking to get chummy with the locals. Northbound Brewpub is also wonderful if you’re looking for craft beer and tasty eats. Both are right off the light rail stop.
Hit up the aforementioned Bull’s Horn. It’s a few blocks walk but, it’s worth the stop. Get a burger. Play a few Replacements songs on the old jukebox and pull some tabs.
That’s basically it. When you’re ready to head back, go to the other side of the light rail platform and take the Blue Line back downtown. And, as always, don’t play on the tracks. The only time anything good happened on railroad tracks is in While You Were Sleeping. Classic flick.
TWIN CITIES NEIGHBORHOODS WITH ALL OF THE THINGS.
The following are great locations for you to head out to, walk around and explore. There’s a lot to do in a few blocks.
Originally a company town for the now defunct Ford Motor plant, Highland Park has seen a resurgence in the last few years and is a trendy up-and-comer neighborhood in the Twin Cities. Although only a few blocks long, this walkable neighborhood packs a ton to do. Restaurants, coffee shops, trendy boutiques and an old school movie theater make this a worthy stop for an afternoon.
About as old school St. Paul as you can get, Grand Ave. plays host to a number of trendy shops stocking everything from outdoor gear to kitchen goods. As other parts of the Twin Cities has succumbed to pricey condos and artisanal waffle houses, Grand Ave. has managed to hang on to its charm. Stop into Grand Ole Creamery for some ice cream and pizza or Tavern on Grand for the best walleye sandwich in town.
Located just across the river from downtown, this traditionally blue-collar neighborhood has some of the best breweries, distilleries, and dive bars in the city. Indeed Brewing, Able Seedhouse, Bauhaus Brew Labs, 612Brew, Sociable Cider Works. Dangerous Man Brewing and Tattersall Distillery are all within a 10-minute ride from downtown. Looking for cheap well drinks and pull tabs? Check out Mayslack’s, Northeast Palace, The Vegas Lounge or Otter’s Saloon. Also, you could find some global flavor (Mexican, Thai, Greek) on Central Avenue. If all this sounds like too much, just go get a hot dog at Uncle Franky’s.
Situated just to the south of downtown (confusing, we know), Uptown is packed full of trendy shops, bars and restaurants. Go take in a movie at the Uptown Theater, sip drinks on a heated patio (if you’re brave enough) or go grab a PBR and shot at the CC Club.
There’s a lot to be said for downtown, but most of this entire article is geared toward how to miss the Super Bowl crowds, so we’ll keep this sho Go see the iconic First Avenue music club and get your picture taken in front of your favorite star. Maybe even go see a show if you’re feeling wild. Walk over to the Guthrie Theater and take a look at the river from their observation deck. Maybe take in a play if you have time. Go take a walk along the Stone Arch Bridge and look at the only natural waterfall along the Mississippi river, St. Anthony Falls.
Commonly referred to as Eat Street, Nicollet Ave is home to a wide variety of shops, bars and restaurants for blocks and blocks. Trendy coffee shops and dirt-cheap Ramen houses share this stretch of Minneapolis just southeast of downtown. Check out Icehouse for craft cocktails and live music, The Copper Hen for made-from scratch locally-sourced eats and Little Tijuana for divey Mexican and cheap daiquiris.
A FEW EXTRAS: BECAUSE THERE’S MORE TO MINNESOTA THAN EATING, DRINKING AND AN EXPENSIVE FOOTBALL GAME.
You are in the State of Hockey and there is a Minnesota Wild game on Friday night the 2nd of February. If you can get tickets, go. It’s fun. If not, then watch it two blocks away at Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub.
St. Paul Winter Carnival:
This celebration of everything winter and Minnesotan takes place each year in St. Paul. Ice sculptures, parades, a medallion hunt and the piece de resistance: a huge castle made entirely from blocks of ice. The Winter Carnival will ensure that even if your smile is frozen, you’ll still be smiling as you dig into the local attractions.
Ice Shanty Projects:
The ice house, a well-recognized winter fixture (see: Grumpy Old Men) of frozen Minnesota lakes, get an artsy overhaul this year on Lake Harriet in South Minneapolis. 22 shanties form a village on the lake and during the weekend, you’ll find interactive art exhibits in each of them. This experience is uniquely Minnesotan and if you’re into quirky art projects, you won’t want to miss this one.
Alright, friends. Thanks for reading. We hope this jump starts your Super Bowl experience and we hope you don’t need to jump start your vehicles while you’re here. If you have any questions, email us. We might get back to you if you ask your questions kindly.
This is your SixSpeed team saying bye-bye. Stay warm, cheer loudly and behave yourselves. We have cops here, too.