Bradstreet, Solera, and more: Happy hours for grownups

Drink like an adult on a college kid's budget

Happy hours seem to come in two varieties. With most, the focus tends to be on getting as intoxicated as possible for the least amount of cash. Those sorts of evenings never seem to end well, like the time you locked lips with Married Mike from accounting—bumping into him in the copy room was always so awkward afterward.

But there's another kind of happy hour, made for people who have graduated from PBRs to craft brews, and who prefer margaritas that aren't dispensed from mixing machines. You already know all the best casual happy hours to hit with a friend or three—Bryant-Lake Bowl, Town Talk Diner, Azia, Common Roots, Brit's, Sweeney's, the Independent—but what you may not have on hand is this: a compilation of classy happy hours at the kind of places you might take a date.

In honor of City Pages' new Happy Hours mobile app (see box, p. 22), I created just that list for you. So clean it up. Trim that beard or throw on a pair of heels. If you want to bust out the little black dress, go right ahead—you won't look out of place at any of these bars and restaurants. And if you take advantage of their drink and appetizer discounts, you'll still have money to spend on dinner. Or brunch.

For a View

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Jana Freiband
A buzz at a bargain: The Grandma's Addiction at Lucia's

Location Info

Map

Prohibition

821 Marquette Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Bradstreet Craftshouse

601 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Cafe Maude

5411 Penn Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55419

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Southwest Minneapolis

The Lexington

1096 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Macalester/Groveland

The Happy Gnome

498 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: St. Paul (Downtown)

Toast Wine Bar & Cafe

415 N. First St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Barbette

1600 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Uptown/ Eat Street

Solera Restaurant & Event Center

900 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Skybar

700 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Saffron Restaurant & Lounge

123 N. 3rd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Category: Restaurant > Middle Eastern

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

Barrio Tequila Bar & Cafe

925 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Minneapolis (Downtown)

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More About

Prohibition
W Minneapolis, 821 Marquette Ave., Minneapolis, 612.215.3700

"Let me turn down the interrogation lights a little," our waitress said as she hit the dimmer switch. The mood lighting made the mahogany-lined alcove at Prohibition even more intimate, and enhanced the spectacular 27th-floor view. With the Foshay's bulb-lit name reflecting off an adjacent skyscraper, downtown Minneapolis has rarely looked better. The view is best experienced with a cocktail in hand—I'm a fan of the fruity Pineapple Upside Down Cake, made with honey bourbon, vanilla vodka, and pineapple juice. The appetizers don't pair so well with a drink that resembles a liquid Jelly Belly, but they're tasty nonetheless: meatballs in harissa-tomato sauce, Yucatan prawns with Thai chile-tomatillo jam, or a sushi roll "of the moment." Prohibition's hour runs Mon.-Sat. from 5-7 p.m., with $5 cocktails and small plates. The same discount is available daily in the first-floor lounge, the Living Room.

For Cocktails

Bradstreet Craftshouse
Graves 601 Hotel, 601 First Ave.N., Minneapolis, 612.312.1821, bradstreetcraftshouse.com

Feeling smart? Then you're probably drinking the Professor at Bradstreet Craftshouse, a gin-and-ginger wonder mixed by bartenders who take an almost academic approach to cocktail making. To get the drinks just right, they choose the appropriate ice—five different kinds!—and dole out house-made bitters with eyedroppers. During 601 Hour, seats at the chef's counter are just as fun as the barstools. In the kitchen staff's hands, quesadillas go global, stuffed with duck confit, raclette cheese, and apple kimchi. Sliders come pink in the middle, with aged cheddar, pickled onions, homemade ketchup, and textbook French fries. Bradstreet Craftshouse's 601 Hour takes place from 5-7 p.m. Tues.-Sat. and 10 p.m.-close Tues.-Thurs. Three cocktails and a few appetizers cost $6.01 or less.

For Music

Café Maude
5411 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612.822.5411, www.cafemaude.com

By day Café Maude can be an attractive spot for family brunches and ladies' lunches, but during post-dinner rush the place has all the trappings of a chic music club, including plenty of seats within a drumstick's toss of the stage and lighting so dim you'll strain to peruse the menu. Not only does Maude host some of the best local jazz you'll find outside of the downtowns, the venue also presents everything from folk guitar to traditional Indian sitar music—all without a cover charge. Drink specials include discounts on beer, wine, and a cocktail of the day, selected from Maude's stellar list—I'm always hoping it'll be my favorite, the lychee-lavender Woman of Leisure. Café Maude offers live music every Friday and Saturday, starting at 9 p.m. Late-night music leisure hour runs from 10 p.m.-midnight, with $3 pints, $5 wine, and a $5 cocktail of the day. The same discounts are offered, sans music, daily from 5-6 p.m.

For Martinis

The Lexington
1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651.222.5878, www.the-lexington.com

The Grande Dame of Grand and Lexington Avenues, the Lex has been a St. Paul landmark since 1935. Oil paintings in ornate gilded frames hang on the windowless, wood-paneled walls of its multiple dining rooms—they look as if they might have served as movie sets for The Sting. The Lexington's martinis are the real deal: not the pastel-colored cutesy-tinis of the modern era, but simply straight vodka or gin (not just rail, so you can ask for Reyka or Hendrick's with no extra charge) with a little vermouth and a twist of lemon rind or a couple of plump green olives threaded on a kitschy commemorative skewer. The martinis are as strong as the Lexington's survival skills: I'd recommend ordering yours on the rocks and letting the ice melt for a minute or two. The Lexington's happy hour runs every day, from 3-6 p.m. Mon.-Fri and 2-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Beers are $3, house wine and martinis are $5, and all the appetizers are half-price. There's also a beer-and-burger special for $8.

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