Hoping to Instagram the view from a luxe 27th-floor cocktail lounge?
Hungry for a late-night menu of Minnesota comfort food (including rotisserie prime rib)? Or do you prefer a cozy urban ice bar where you can meet ladies in mink and men in their finest “après-ski”?
You can have it all, with our roundup of some of the finest food, cleverest cocktails, and most stunning surrounds at downtown Minneapolis hotel bars.
The Hotel: The Ivy, 201 S. 11th St.
The Bar: Constantine
The Vibe: Friendly bartenders keep things cheery in this subterranean speakeasy. Retire to one of the leather couches in the faux-Elizabethan portrait gallery and soak up the sexy candlelit gloom while wondering if that weak-chinned gentleman with the ruff and sword could be your great great-grandfather’s great grandfather.
The Drinks: The bartenders love a challenge: Tell them what you don’t like, and they’ll make you something you’ll love. Otherwise, get creative with the dill aquavit-spiked, citrusy Reptar or the Jeffrey, topped with espresso whipped cream.
The Food: We love that there’s a proper cocktail bar where you sink your teeth into a seared tuna sammie for $9, a plate of bucatini cacio e pepe for $8, and oysters for $4. It’s Minnesota, so there’s also tater tots with cheese sauce.
Happy Hour? And how. From 5 to 9 p.m. on weekday evenings, Constantine runs what might be downtown’s best happy hour deal. A house wine or cocktail; a cheeseburger, wrapped in paper, that looks like Burger King and tastes like heaven; and a pair of house-made pop tarts (banana and Nutella, most recently) will set you back all of $13.
The Hotel: Le Méridien Chambers, 901 Hennepin Ave.
The Bar: Mercy
The Vibe: A long, gleaming copper bar hosts a convivial, chic crowd. The enclosed outdoor patio transforms into an illuminated ice bar through the Super Bowl: Picture pine trees, fire pits, ice sculptures, and shufflepuck.
The Drinks: A spicy, wintry red and white sangria -- cardamom, ginger, cloves -- is a perfect February warm-up. You’ll find several local brews on tap; if you’re in a group, go crazy with the house-made Party Punch, which serves six to eight.
The Food: A killer burger, fish ribs (the menu says “don’t be scared,” and we agree), harissa lime chicken wings, and not-from-the-box pizza rolls.
Happy Hour? From 3 to 6 p.m. at the bar, $5 taps and house wines, but consider the $6 Schrodinger’s Cup, made with Duluth’s own Vikre gin. Two-dollar oysters paired with four-dollar ice cream sammies may prevent post-game hangovers.
The Hotel: Hewing Hotel, 300 Washington Ave. N.
The Bar(s): Tullibee, on the lobby level. The Ice Bar, Martin Patrick 3, in the back alley.
The Vibe: The bar at Tullibee strikes a historic, industrial-gorgeous pose: exposed brick, distressed wood, and armchairs nestled around the fireplace. In the alley between the hotel and Martin Patrick 3, a high-end men’s shop, you’ll find the ice bar, a cozy urban wonderland of ladies in mink coats and men in “après-ski” serving martinis under strung-up Christmas lights. This may be the best place in Minneapolis to feel like James Bond for under $25, and the only place to spot someone in a mink coat outside of Snoop Dogg’s party. If hipsters give you heart palpitations, bring a defibrillator.
The Drinks: If you just won $500 on a bet that the Eagles would go to the Super Bowl, you’re only be $2 short of being able to splurge on the French Kiss, made with Courvoisier L’Essence. If you bet on the Vikings, order the rum-happy Psychotic Balaclava ($13).
The Food: A Midwestern field and stream frenzy, from fried smelt to bison skewers to locally produced cheese and ham boards.
Happy Hour? Are you kidding? No. But the Scottish Fling (laphroaig 30 and lemon) at $225, is technically a little more than half-off the aforementioned French Kiss.
The Hotel: The Kimpton Grand Hotel, 615 Second Ave. S.
The Bar: The SIX615 Room
The Vibe: Lavish European bordello -- crimson velvet couches, beaded curtains, Roman streetscape art, flickering candlelight -- meets historic hotel lobby. This is one of downtown Minneapolis’ most elegant public spaces, with the original marble floors and mahogany woodwork.
The Drinks: The taps celebrate Minnesota breweries, though you can still get a proper Guinness.
The Food: A huge bar menu will please even your pickiest drinking buddy. Get Minnesotan with the bison wild rice meatballs.
Happy Hour? Between 3 and 6:15 p.m., there’s a special menu -- house wines, draft beers, wasabi deviled eggs, locally-raised turkey sliders! -- that cost, you guessed it, $6.15.
The Hotel: The W Minneapolis at the Foshay, 821 S. Marquette Ave.
The Bar(s): Prohibition, on the 27th floor. The Living Room, off the lobby.
The Vibe: Cocktail dresses and clubwear won’t look out of place amid the 19th-century library furnishings and luxe velvet chaise lounges. On the 27th floor of what was long Minneapolis’ tallest building, this is one of downtown’s best views. If it’s full, the Living Room serves the same bar menu in a glitzy purple splendor that feels vaguely like a Prince album cover.
The Drinks: Go local with cocktails shaken with liquors from Minneapolis’ own Tattersall Distillery -- we like the aquavit-spiked Swedish 60 and the Sour Cherry Gimlet. Or, pretend it’s not ten degrees outside with a Mango Colada or a Singapore Sling, slung with Wisconsin-made Death’s Door gin.
The Food: Small plates run the greatest hits gamut, from ahi poke to chicken wings to flatbread pizza. Go for the Hometown Pub Grub (beer battered cheese curds and pigs in a blanket).
Happy Hour? Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m., sip $8 wine and cocktails (try the Peach Old Fashioned) and munch on thai noodle salad and carnitas tacos ($6).
The Hotel: The Radisson Hotel, 31 S. Seventh St.
The Bar: FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar
The Vibe: A handsome bar with an unfussy attitude makes this a laid-back spot popular with both locals and out-of-towners.
The Drinks: Regional taps and bottles, an excellent list of wine by the glass, and tasty twists on classic cocktails. Try the pineapple and cranberry-infused FireLake Cosmo.
The Food: A chef-driven menu featuring local dishes means that the Minnesota-inspired comfort food gets an A+ -- and a failing grade from your personal trainer. Where else can you order rotisserie prime rib off the late-night menu?
Happy Hour? Sundays through Fridays from 4 to 6:30 p.m, feast on walleye fritters, sriracha maple-glazed chicken wings, and dirty fries with pulled pork for around $8 each.
More from Food & Drink