When late night in Uptown feels like initiation night on frat row, it can feel all but impossible to find an adult oasis in the once-sophisticated 'hood.
Nightingale is a shimmering gem for those of us who’ve been on the planet for more than 21 revolutions.
For starters, it’s run by an adult couple who’ve been married long enough to have a young adult son who also works in the family business. Jasha Johnston and Carrie McCabe Johnston are some of the nicest folks in the biz, and they’ve created a dreamy spot with an enviable profile: independent, sophisticated, successful.
But just because it’s sophisticated doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Just the opposite.
As lifelong restaurant folk, Jasha and Carrie always vowed to have really good late night eats. Industry folk spilling out of restaurants at 11 p.m. deserve some civilization, too. And the rest of us get to reap the benefits, all the way up ’til 1 a.m.
The place is inspired in part by New Orleans, the couple’s favorite city, so there are always oysters. At two bucks apiece, you’re already worlds away from Jag bombs and that battle cry that tends to follow them.
Add a pot of some of the best French fries in town for $4, with a little pot of malted vinegar aioli. At happy hour, a very good house sparkling goes for $5 a glass or $20 a bottle if you’re so inclined.
There is so much more, like ginger-chile chicken wings for $7, or a nice bruschetta with whatever’s fresh and good for just $5.
But really, make the holy trinity of oysters, fries, and bubbles your go-to here, and the life affirming nature of each one— sensual, fattening, intoxicating-- will have you staying up late more and more often.
That you can have them all for little more than twenty bucks feels a little like stealing.
Be sure and leave a substantial tip. Civilization has its costs, after all.
Pro tip: If you're not a late night sort, know that these most excellent happy hour deals also exist between that traditional 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. window and there's a bonus to it-- their superior cheeseburger goes for just $9, only at the early happy hour. Add a can of Hamms for a single buck.
2551 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis