Camping and family car trips are all well and good, but eventually real wanderlust sets in and you start dreaming of different climates, unknown territories, and unexplored holes-in-the-wall. But who has the time and money for a big overseas trip? Not to worry! You can plan a relaxing staycation and still manage to go around the world in 80 (or so) beers. The Growler shows you how.
The Local (Ireland)
931 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis • 612-904-1000
This gorgeous, expansive Irish bar on Nicollet Mall is full of nooks and crannies like the Whiskey Lounge for people-watching and the Kissing Room, a cozy hideaway where you can steal away for more, ahem, private affairs. The Local’s big claim to fame is that they pour more Jameson Irish Whiskey than any other watering hole in the world. They also have plenty in the way of Irish craft brews—from Kilkenny Cream Ale to Magners Cider. The Local’s polished service and bustling atmosphere make it a one of the most popular restaurants in Minneapolis for the post-work downtown crowd.
330 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis • 612-339-4499
Located across from Target Center, a stone’s throw from Target Field, and kitty corner from First Avenue, Kieran’s is a pre- and post-event destination for a wide range of people. Hobnob with sports fans and concert-goers alike on the huge outdoor patio where, during peak times, Kieran’s adds a convenient second bar. Their chicken shots and pub pretzels may not be the most traditional fare, but they are undeniably addictive.
16 University Ave NE, Minneapolis • 612-252-0880
Raucous rounds of trivia, top-notch fish and chips, and a full calendar of events from live music to kilt night are highlights of this cozy pub in Northeast Minneapolis. In keeping with its promise of offering an authentic Irish experience, Keegan’s bar was designed, built, then shipped—piece by piece—over land and sea from Waterford, Ireland. If you’re looking for a perfectly-poured Guinness and want to enjoy it in a setting that’s a wee bit quieter than the downtown Irish pubs, this is the spot.
Brit’s Pub (UK)
1110 Nicollett Mall, Minneapolis • 612-332-3908
After more than 20 years in business, the opening of Brit’s patio is still among the surest signs of spring, and locals look forward to with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. Brit’s rooftop deck features lush green space reserved for lawn bowling, comfy intimate seating areas, and lovely views of Nicollet Mall. And their pub grub—think Scotch eggs and sausage rolls—is a must to accompany British craft ales from Bass, Fuller’s, and Old Speckled Hen, to Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.
Mackenzie Pub (Scotland)
918 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis • 612-333-7268
Mackenzie Pub on Hennepin has become synonymous with Scotch. With 24 rotating taps of local and regional brews, and a handful of imported beers (even more in bottles), this classy theater district bar has also gained a reputation for attracting our kind of drinking crowd. Mackenzie’s multilevel bar hosts European beer tastings, special events for Craft Beer week, as well as special promos sponsored by breweries like Deschutes and Bell’s.
New Bohemia (Czech Republic/Germany)
233 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis • 612-331-4929
Belly up to one of the long, beer hall-style tables at New Bohemia and get to know your neighbors in an environment that’s a hybrid of Oktoberfest celebration and adventurous hot dog stand. Try traditional brats, hickory-smoked German sausages, and wieners made with surprising protein combos like rabbit and rattlesnake—even alligator, which you’ll find in the bayou dog. New Bohemia’s featured drafts rotate by the month and usually center around a single brewery like Hacker-Pschorr or Paulaner.
605 7th St W, St Paul • 651-292-9421
Sometimes overshadowed by bigger “party” German bars, Glockenspiel is a well-guarded secret on West 7th St. in St. Paul. Late-night happy hour runs from 9-11 PM daily, a perfect time to try out some beers of the Austrian (Steigl), Russian (Baltika), and many, many of the German (Erdinger, Schneider Weiss) varieties not commonly seen on other lists around town. But save a little room—you haven’t lived until you’ve tried their schnitzel fingers.