Best bets for Art-A-Whirl refueling

The only time of year you'll find an adult tropical bouncy house in Psycho Suzi's parking lot.
The only time of year you'll find an adult tropical bouncy house in Psycho Suzi's parking lot.

Today marks the beginning of the 17th annual Northeast Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl, the nation's largest open-studio tour, when galleries and studios throw open their doors to art lovers, prospective buyers, and people who just love free wine and cheese.

Last year, the event drew more than 30,000 people, who descended on NE Mpls by bike, car, and trolley to peruse the work of more than 400 artists. But art appreciation takes a heavy caloric toll, and eventually even the most ardent watercolor enthusiast will need to refuel. Luckily, there are restaurants and watering holes in every nook and cranny of the festival offering food, drink, and entertainment a-plenty. Here are a few of your best bets for this weekend.

Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge, whose patio is hopping pretty much constantly from May through October, turns into an absolute madhouse during Art-A-Whirl. This Saturday they're hosting a Rock the River party from noon to 10 p.m., with live music by seven bands and a parking lot party with a beer truck, drinks in coconuts, and an adult tropical bouncy house. What happens when you mix pizza, tiki drinks, and frantic jumping? One way to find out.
Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis; 612.788.9069

At the intersection of Lowry and University Avenues, recently refurbished Stanley's Northeast Bar Room will be offering live music in their beer garden from 6-10 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Their new food truck, Stanley's on Wheels (which slings everything from BBQ beef brisket sandwiches to Oreo brownies), will also be parked outside for the duration of the weekend, and there will be ample bike parking available on site.
Stanley's Northeast Bar Room
2500 University Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612.788.2529

A short stroll from the madness of Psycho Suzi's, The Sample Room is bit more upscale. But they're throwing down for the big weekend too, hosting live music Friday through Sunday, a grill on the patio (featuring four different sausages), beer, wine, and cocktail specials, and a parking lot tent where weary art lovers can take refuge from the sun (or storms, as the case may be). The acoustic brunch on Sunday goes until 3:00 p.m., giving hard-partying whirlers plenty of time to sleep in before gearing up for the final day.
The Sample Room
2124 Marshall St. NE Minneapolis; 612.789.0333

The highest concentration of restaurants can be found on Nordeast's main drag: 13th Ave. NE. Northeast Social has swanky fare inside and finger food at their sidewalk patio grill. A crepe stand slings sweet and savory treats outside Two 12 Pottery, and The Anchor Fish & Chips will be launching their brand new food truck on Saturday at noon in their parking lot, where they will also host live music all weekend.

Other food trucks from across the city will descend on Nordeast for the weekend as well. Mill City Farmers Market staple the Chef Shack will set up shop outside of the Northrup King building along with the Spyhouse Coffee Cart, and the Bikery du Nord Waffle Van and Taco Taxi will be outside the Casket Arts building on 17th Ave. NE.

The Mill City Cafe, which occupies the bottom level of the California Building, opens up an outdoor grill of their own for the weekend, which serves brats, veggie burgers, and pulled pork sandwiches late into the evening. This year, there will also be a live music lineup in the California Building parking lot for the first time. Be sure to check out the new urban farm California Street Farm across the street while you're there. Happy Art-A-Whirling!

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