Make it a Date: Obento-Ya


If you're not familiar with the University neighborhood, here are a few things to do near Obento-Ya, besides toss a Frisbee at Van Cleve Park:

1. Tour the I-35 bridge Construction

Saturdays at 11 a.m., MNDOT hosts free Sidewalk Superintendent Talks to view the construction progress (the main span is already 20% complete) and answer questions. Tours meet at the corner of Washington and 19th Avenues (in front of Grandma's Saloon).

2. Have a Cocktail at Intelligent Nutrients

Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher's corporate h.q. on East Hennepin boasts an arty blue bar in the back that serves up organic cocktails with all sorts of intriguing herbal infusions lined up in a row of glass bottles. The place is usuallly sparsely populated, (I don't think I know anyone else who's actually ever been there) which makes it better for a quiet conversation than a see-and-be-scene, and it has a fabulous pink powder room for ladies to primp.

3. Sing Karaoke at Sporty's


Formerly known as Sportsman's Pub, (I'm not a big fan of the name change, personally) this student-thronged dive bar lets amature singers take the stage Thursday through Saturday 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and let's just say it ain't pretty--but at least they have cheap tap beers. They also have pool and darts if you're more a sportsman than musician.