Location: 1366 N Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago P: 773-697-7922 Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5PM-2AM, Fri: 3PM-2AM, Sat: Noon-3AM, Sun: Noon-2AM
In June 2012 Emporium opened it’s doors at the forefront of the then current “barcade” trend. Situated in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, just down the street from the bustling “6 corners,” Emporium established itself as one of CHI’s premier barcades. Location aside, they have an awesome beer menu, and if you’re into whiskey (we are), they have a separate menu dedicated entirely to the “Ruckus Juice.” When it comes to the games, these guys hit the nail on the head; you’ll find ALL of the classics: The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, NBA JAM, and Street Fighter. If that wasn’t good enough, they have a separate room dedicated entirely to pinball and live music. Emporium is dope but beware, if you come here late on a Friday or Saturday night, you’ll probably end up doing more waiting and watching than actual playing; so go early or on odd days if you’re there strictly for the games. This place is ideal for a pre-game before the night begins, I’d highly recommend a stop if you’re near “6 Corners”.
The corner of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street has gone through quite the transformation over the last few years. The new Country Bar, Iron Door Pub, and Lyn-Lake Brewery have breathed life into what was beginning to look like one of the southside’s biggest question marks. If you remember Rusty Quarters, 1Up, or any of the other failed attempts at arcade bars, you know that the people over at the newly established Up-Down are definitely on to something.
The bar feels like an arcade first which is a great thing, they offer a wide array of games including pineball, jumbo jenga and ski-ball. You’ll see plenty of your favorites like The Simpsons, Off-Road, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and NBA JAM, but there are also plenty of gems in their collection. If you came for the booze you wont be disappointed, Up-Down offers around 60 taps as well as a full bar. Food? They have a small kitchen that serves up pizza by the slice, not mind blowing but definitely a good filler between pints. Pinball aficionados might scoff at the limited selection, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better one in the cities. Be aware that this place can get packed during evening hours and over the weekend, if you’re there to play you should aim for week days or earlier hours.
Up-Down is by far the best “barcade” I’ve ever been to in the Twin Cities, there is plenty of room for improvement, but there really isn’t much to complain about either. If you follow our advice on when to attend you should be good, click the link below for their official website.
If you are a beer drinker in Minnesota, then you know there is no shortage of solid breweries around the state. The Twin Cities enjoy access to some of the best around, one of which being Dangerous Man Brewing in the Northeast neighborhood. A local favorite, it came as a slight surprise when Keigan Knee parted ways to create a new brewery by the name of Modist. No hard feelings of course, Keigan and his fellow founders have gone on to build one of Minneapolis’ more promising young breweries. Located in the North Loop, Modist is a short walk away from Fulton Brewery and Inbound Brewing, you’ll also find a few of the cities more buzz’d about restaurants within the neighborhood. Their space is massive, a long bar that can accommodate what feels like at least 20 patrons stretches across the room while extra large picnic tables flank the middle of the room. Large glass garage doors open to reveal more picnic tables on the breweries outdoor patio, a favorite spot for Twins fans having a brew before the games. If you aren’t up for communal seating, there are a few single couches and tables laid out further from the main area. One look at their tap list and you’ll notice that it doesn’t offer the widest variety quite yet, but their Salted Caramel Lager and Haymaker IPA are two beers worthy of a try, you can even opt for $3-$4 10oz glasses. One thing we especially love about this place is their knack for infusions, they provide a uniquely infused beer each week. If you enjoy trying new things you should keep an eye on Modist, we’re sure they’re just getting started. Clink the link below to check out their website and stay tuned for updates.
Location: 920 E Lake Street #123, Minneapolis Hours:Sun-Thurs: Noon-10PM, Fri-Sat: Noon-11PM
The Twin Cities are currently going through quite the wave of gentrification. Almost everywhere you look across both cities, working class and art based neighborhoods are being transformed into higher end enclaves for the fortunate. One look around Uptown, Lowertown, Northeast, the North Loop, or Dinkytown neighrboods will quickly confirm this. Low and behold, the southside’s Phillip’s West & Powderhorn neighrborhoods remain relatively unscathed by the ever-reaching arms of gentrication.
East Lake street still stands as one of Minneapolis’ most diverse stretches, many of these qualities converge at the Midtown Global Market on Chicago Avenue. A world’s fair of sorts, the market doesn’t initially come off as a good place for a brewery; all fears were quelled upon arrival. Most breweries don’t have an abundance of food options for their patrons, this in turn makes the Midtown Global Market the perfect place for a brewery. The guys keep a solid rotation of beers on tap as well as bombers; the Blue Liner, Pomegranate Sassy, and Kirby Sour all being top notch. The space feels bright and warm, with yellow accents and all wood everything. I also like the fact that this taproom has TVs unlike a lot of the other spots around town, they also offer a few arcade games tucked away in the back. Throw in a spacious sidewalk patio on Lake Street and you’ve got a place that’s hard to resist, especially for beer drinkers who want to steer away from the hustle & bustle of some of the more crowded taprooms.
East Lake Brewery might not have the glitz and glam, but they do offer good beers in a comfortable environment. The fact that they have access to such an abundance of awesome food really sets this place apart in my book. East Lake isn’t a “place to be seen” per say, but a place to gather with friends over some damn good food and damn good beer. Check it out for yourself and make sure to keep an eye out for more from the guys at East Lake Brewery.
Location: 1024 N Western Avenue, Chicago P: 773-451-5625 Hours: Mon-Fri: 11AM-2AM, Sat: 11AM-3AM, Sun: 11AM-Midnight
Best burgers in the city…hands down…the end…Seriously though, the burgers at this place could speak for themselves. Located on Western Ave in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Lockdown is far from your average bar. For starters they strictly play heavy metal and the theme is half jail cell half dungeon; their beer menu is chalk full of craft brews, and they have down right awesome food. Take “The Death Sentence” for instance, 20 oz of beef, double stacked with bacon and yellow cheddar; topped with carmalized onions on a pretzel roll. They offer a wide variety of cheeses as well including Brie, Chevre, Gorgonzola and Merkts Cheddar to name a few. Top 5 burger spots dead or alive, that means EVER in Chicago, if you don’t believe go check out Lockdown yourself.
Location: 3258 N Sheffield Avenue, Chicago Hours: Mon-Fri: 11AM-2AM, Sat: 11AM-3AM, Sun: 11AM-Midnight
The bar scene in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood is known for being rowdy, a little pretentious, and at times, feeling like the bro capital of the world. Most of the bars on the Clark Street strip will be packed to capacity on Friday and Saturday nights and if there’s a game, you can count on 2-3 times the crowd on the streets. Sheffield’s is like an oasis. In the midst of so much drunken debauchery, lies a cool, laid back bar with great food and an even better beer menu. They have what feels like 4 separate bars, each of which is fitted with multiple big screen TVs; and a huge outdoor area with it’s own bar. This place can get pretty wild from time to time, but the bros and yuppies tend to stay away; leaving an atmosphere filled with peace and girls that aren’t being harassed at every turn.
Location: 501 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis Hours: Mon-Fri: 4PM-2AM, Sat-Sun: 8AM-2AM
In recent years, Minneapolis’ West Bank has begun the transformation from a place often overlooked, into a bustling, multi-cultural strip with plenty of cool bars, good restaurants and venues to enjoy live music. One such bar/venue is the Nomad World Pub, which is located just across from Palmer’s; a couple of blocks from the Triple Rock. In addition to a constant rotation of live acts, the Nomad offers bocce ball, pinball (brand new) and even curling in the winter, along with a separate patio complete with a fire pit. Drink specials like 2 for 1s and the good ole’ prefix (PBR & shot) are offered pretty much every night and the music is always on point whether it’s rock, hip hop, soul or a DJ spinning. The Nomad is often at that perfect capacity, not too packed, but far from empty, however; there always seems to be a random influx or two throughout any night, probably due to it’s location between so many other bars. If you’re into futbol, the Nomad is one of the best places in town to catch a match in peace, and game days are usually accompanied with extra specials. All in all, the Nomad World Pub is a great bar to kick back a few brews and enjoy some good local music, they always have good beers on tap and they consistently book quality bands/artists. If you’re ever on the West Bank in search of a place to drink, stop by the Nomad and check out what they have to offer.
Bauhaus Brew Labs. Aesthetically pleasing, tasty brews, all tucked neatly in the heart of the Brew District (NE Minneapolis). If you were to ask me what my favorite brewery is to attend, it is now Bauhaus Brew Labs. With open space, a large covered outdoor area with lights hanging overhead; it is the perfect place to go with larger groups.
Bauhaus also has an outdoor/indoor stage for live music, board games, bag toss, and a kid play area. These are all things that make this brewery unique to the scene around it. Just a block down from 612 Brew, placed alongside the railroad tracks, Bauhaus Brew Labs is just the new brewery we needed to liven up the brewery scene yet again.
The bar scene in Minneapolis is currently undergoing a huge transformation. Chic rooftops and trendy lounges have began popping up everywhere leaving a stark contrast in many of the city’s neighborhoods. Take Mortimer’s for example, a sleepy, game filled “Dive” with 3 separate bars and TV’s everywhere vs. Moto I; a swanky Japanese style sake brewery and lounge (yes it has a rooftop). Both of these places are awesome in their own way and for separate occasions, but if I’m just trying to knock back a couple of brews, I’m taking Mortimer’s all day. Serving up some damn good burgers, cheese curds and 2 for 1 drinks just about all day; Mortimer’s is a great place to kick back and watch the Vikes or simply get wasted for the low (Pregame!!). All in all this place is a cool bar with crazy drink specials and awesome games, if you’re looking for a chill place to have a brew in Uptown; look no further.
(P.S: This place attracts patrons of all types, beware some are less than cordial)
As craft beer becomes more and more of a “thing” in commercial America, states like Minnesota, Portland, California, Michigan, and Texas continue to push the bar. Minnesota’s 2nd craft brewery, Surly, has now graduated into it’s $30 million dollar behemoth in Prospect Park, if you’ve never been, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s fucking insane. A brewer, beer drinker and food connoisseur will all find themselves at home at Surly. Their tap list usually consists of their classics (Furious, Hell, Bender) as well as a few rare brews ( #10, #4, Hell Chili Pepper). If you came for more than beer, you’ll be glad to know that they offer 2 world class menus, one of which is among America’s top 10. The Brewer’s table is reservation by group only, but the organizing and money is WELL worth it, at $70 a pop (6 guest minimum) we promise every dollar is well spent. The entire facility beckons the word “haven,” as if the gods bestowed us Minnesotans with this specific Eden of beer drinking, if you live in the state and haven’t visited; make sure to check it out next time you’re in the cities. Click the link below for their official website.