Even with March coming in like a lion only to go out like a … still pretty cold lion, the euphoria associated with the prospect of warm weather is upon us. For many, that means outdoor drinking and eating season is open. Here are a handful of the best spots for fresh air gastro-mania with an emphasis on the happiest of hours.
Solera, 900 Hennepin Ave.
The tapas-slingin’, double-happy-hour-havin’, Minneapolis mainstay Solera may be respected for its second floor outdoor patio, but it’s the rooftop a few more flights up that’s the real hot spot. Come summertime, Solera further accommodates by projecting films from its roof onto a neighboring brick wall. The minibar even follows suit with movie-themed drink specials. Result: viewers can recite their favorite lines from “The Big Lebowski” while sipping a discounted Caucasian — the dude abides.
Red Stag Supper Club 509 First Ave. N.E .
Style-savvy Minneapolis restaurant mogul Kim Bartmann’s newest venture, the vaguely bohemian Red Stag Supper Club, boasts a drinking hall that would put Beowulf’s “Heorot“ to shame — and has a patio to boot. The slightly Eastern-European baby sister to uptown’s Café Barbette and the Bryant Lake Bowl, Red Stag’s menu includes innovative dishes varying from the lighter curried carrot soup or pear chop salad to the more decadent goat cheese ravioli and pan-roasted duck breast. It’s also the first LEED-CI certified restaurant in Minnesota, which means it’s registered as a leader in energy and environmental design.
Brasa Premium Rotisserie 600 E. Hennepin Ave Minneapolis
With indoor space enough to accommodate little more than a beer and wine bar, a rotating spigot and some of the most delectable rotisserie chickens this side of the Rio Grande, the former gas station transformed into Cajun-Latino grillery has seating that spills graciously into its driveway. Too crowded? That’s a good sign and a lunchtime normality, given Brasa’s affordability and delectable combinations like slow-roasted pork with fried sweet plantains or vegetarian grits with rice and beans and honey-buttered cornbread. Even with no direct seating, the takeout is rapid fire and arguably the best in the city. Did we mention they buy local and try to be green? ’Cause they do.
Club Jager: As Germanic as it comes, Jager is a wood-heavy, minimalist ale hall, which sports an enormous and secluded bonfire-centered back patio.
Preston’s Urban Pub: Boasting a sea of outdoor seating and blotto-friendly shot specials, this Seven Corners bar is an easy choice for summer nights.
Spring Street Tavern: Spring Street Tavern’s patio is nothing to write home about, but the drink specials will make visitors dizzy. Early bird happy hour almost bleeds into regular happy hour and the discounts don’t stop at the end of the workweek.
Café Lurcat A beautiful garden with a price tag that reflects it makes happy hour the way to go in this decadently suave joint.
Kitty Cat Klub: An amazing happy hour with outdoor seating within walking distance from East Bank also features pinball. Need we say more?
Kozlaks Royal Oak Restaurant: An aesthetically divine three seasons room and garden make this family-owned St. Paul restaurant worth its weight.
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