Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Good Friends, Good Beer and Great Patios

It’s that time again, time for everyone to get out and enjoy their favorite bar patios around the state. We all have our favorite place that we like to sit outside and enjoy good food and drink. I’m going to be picking my top 3, which will be more city based. Ben will be picking his top 3, which will be more northern bound. Feel free to email us your top patios. We are always up for getting a sun burn and buzz while checking out new spots.

Kenny’s Picks –

Roy Smalley’s 87 Club: Picture above

This is located in downtownMinneapolis, about a block from Target Field. This used to be the old Champps inButler Square. The food here is pretty basic, but if you stick with a burger, you can’t go wrong. The number one reason I like this place, is because if I’m here, that usually means I’m on my way to, or leaving a Twins game. The bar has a good selection of tap beer, which is always nice. Also, this place isn’t so much a patio as it is an alley. They took the opening between this building and 508 and turned it into an outdoor seating area that is a must see experience for any Twins fan heading to a game.

Cowboy Jacks: Picture above

I’m picking this one mainly because of location. The bar is located inPlymouth, which is also where I reside. So, if I have had one to many, it’s an easy walk home. The bar does look out of place. It is supposed to look like an old time saloon, which it does, but when it is next to a Golf Galaxy, Target and LeAnn Chin, it kind of takes something away. But, when you are there, none of that seems to matter. The free peanuts are a big hit and the shells are everywhere. There is a fire pit to sit around and mingle, or a little pond to look out over. The bar is very cool. It is actually the back wall of the inside bar, but it opens like a garage door to serve the thirsty suburban cow folk.

3 Squares: Picture above. Imagine a few metal tables and chairs

Ahh, 3 Squares, how I love thee. This place by far has the best happy hour in town. They have $2 taps and half price apps from 9-12 every day. The happy hour actually goes from 8am-6pm and than 9pm-12pm. So, pretty much anytime you are there, its happy hour. The patio there isn’t big by any means. I believe it is no more than 10 tables, but that is what I like about it. If you have a good size group, it is almost like you are having a private party with a wait staff. The other good thing about this place is the ever changing tap beer list. My friends and I always try to have at least 1 or 2 beers we haven’t previously had. So, if you have $100 to spend or just $10, 3 Squares is the place for you.

Ben’s Picks -

You smell that?That’s the smell of spring my friend’s.Nothing says spring has truly arrived like having that first ice cold, condensation drenched pint/mug of beer on the patio of your favorite bar.If you are heading up north for say, putting in the dock at the cabin or opening the cabin after winter, you may need a cold one outdoors on a nice day.Here are 3 bars (starting with chill out spot and moving to the party scene) that I grew to love for their outdoor space while living in the Brainerd area for a few years after college.

Ernie’s offers good food and a solid beer selection.The star of the show though is the deck and outdoor seating overlooking their private marina onGullLake.I enjoy sipping down a Stella Artois watching boats I can only dream of owning come cruising in for their own beer break from the lake.Ernie’s is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon beer on the lake.

MoonliteBay onCrossLake –

MoonliteBayis perched up on the banks ofCrossLake.With its monstrous deck and it’s own marina (again with boats I will only dream of owning).This bar can be very relaxing and a good spot to chill out during the day or for a happy hour.The pace picks up a bit once the sun gives everyone’s vitamin D overdosed skin a break.Lots of bands will play on the weekends and the party begins.

Now that you’ve gotten warmed up, you’ve had your lunch drinks at Ernie’s and then went up north to Cross Lake for happy hour, your ready to really cut loose.Zorbaz onGullLake(there are soon to be 9 other locations inMinnesota) has a huge outdoor area, its own docks, beach volleyball, tiki bar, and lots of college age kids looking to party it up each weekend late night.Leaving Zorbaz after a long evening, make sure you have lots of aspirin at home for the morning when you wake up asking, “Did I have shots of Jag? Why?”

Ken and I know that you have your favorite patio bar inMinnesotaor elsewhere.Please comment or send us an email with yours so everyone can maybe learn about a new spot they want to try as the temps continue to rise.

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