Our Picks for Pre- & Post-Game Dining
Lucky for hungry baseball fans, Target Field sits next to some of Minneapolis’ best restaurants and bars. Just in time for the 2014 All-Star Game, here’s a round-up our favorite Downtown and North Loop establishments, from raucous pubs and local breweries to after hours fine dining.
Minneapolis is about as far from an ocean as you can get, but that’s why God invented airplanes. Smack Shack flies in live lobsters and other coastal goodies to create a seaside dining experience in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Grab a seat on their patio (with cool views of the North Loop’s warehouses and cobblestone streets) and divvy up some fried oyster sliders, oysters on the half shell and lobster rolls. Excellent cocktails (try the Mary & Ginger—Jameson, Jeremiah Weed, Ginger Beer with fresh ginger and rosemary), beers and wine.
603 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.259.7288; smack-shack.com
Craft beer lovers will love pre-gaming at Fulton, one of the city’s best breweries. Just steps away from Target Field, it’s the perfect place to get a, shall we say, head start on the party (at non-stadium prices, no less!). The Lonely Blonde (a crisp, American blode brew), the Ringer (a bright, hoppy American Pale Ale) and Sweet Child of Vine (a hoppy, floral IPA) are all excellent standbys, but they’ll usually showcase a few unique brews. Be warned: like most craft beers, these guys can offer a hefty ABV punch. You do want to make it to the seventh inning stretch, don’t you?
414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.333.3208; fultonbeer.com
A sad truth: the hot dog selection at Target Field is pretty crappy for a stadium. If you’re jonesing for a tube steak, the folks at Butcher and the Boar make an excellent one. Grab a seat in their year-round biergarden and try to not make juvenile jokes about their ridiculously long wieners topped with shoestring potatoes, mustard, peppers, pickles and cilantro. Haha, I just wrote wieners.
1121 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.238.8888; butcherandtheboar.com
Twin Citians love Kieran’s Irish Pub for the same reason that everyone loves Irish pubs: They’re fun, raucous and know how to get a party started. Kieran’s is one of the city’s best, with a sprawling patio just a block from Target Field. Their chicken shots (crispy chicken breasts slathered with a 2 Gingers whiskey glaze), wee burgers or roasted apple flat breads are a perfect pre-game snack. Expect Irish classics on tap, like Guinness, Smithwick’s and Harp, plus lots of Irish whiskies.
85 6th St N, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.339.4499; kierans.com
Remember that bar and grille from college with 25-cent wing night and Taco Tuesdays? Freehouse is what happens when that place grows up. Instead of pitchers of lite beer, you’ll find Freehouse’s own craft brews as well as guest selections (think Bells, Lagunitas and Breckenridge). In lieu of warming up frozen jalapeno poppers and mediocre nachos, snack on charred bone marrow served with brown bread and tomato jam; Korean riblets; hearty burgers and more. Sounds pretty delicious, and it is.
701 N. Washington Ave., Ste 101, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.339.7011; freehousempls.com
Located a few short blocks from Target Field, James Beard award-winning chef Isaac Becker’s first restaurant is a favorite amongst chefs and other service industry folks. That has as much to do with their steak tartare, famous 112 cheeseburger, and foie gras meatballs as it does with their night owl hours. You’ll find line cooks and chefs unwinding from service at the bar, celebs hiding out upstairs and Twins fans looking for a more upscale (but still pretty casual) post-game bite.
112 north 3rd street, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.343.7696; 112eatery.com
Another fantastic restaurant from chef Becker, this ode to Italy ain’t your grandparent’s Eye-talian eatery. You’ll find all sorts of excellent sharable plates, like blue marlin crudo, bruschetta with soft eggs and lobster, and an insane bucatini Bolognese. Throw in a glass of big, Italian red and you’ve scored yourself one hell of a late night meal.
800 Washington Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.333.3837; barlagrassa.com
Paul Berglund has made a name for himself as the executive chef of Minneapolis’ Bachelor Farmer, where he’s cooking trend-setting modernist Nordic cuisine. A bit of a walk from the stadium, Berglund’s toasts (topped with things like fresh cheese, bacon-onion jam, fruit compote, granola and roasted radishes) make a fantastic snack. If you’re looking to tie one on, hit up Marvel Bar, located in the restaurant’s basement. This dimly-lit speakeasy serves up some of the best craft cocktails in town.
50 North 2nd Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401; 612.206.3920; thebachelorfarmer.com
For more of a down and dirty, wild card kind of evening, check out Lee’s Liquor Lounge. Sticky floors, drop ceiling, wood paneled walls and beer signs galore, it’s a dive bar to end all dive bars with bands playing most nights. From classic country cover bands to rockabilly and swing, Lee’s might sound different every night, but it’s always good fun.
101 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403; 612.338.9491; leesliquorlounge.com