The 11 Best Happy Hours in the Twin Cities


Otherwise known as church to much of the barbarian public, happy hour is indeed the golden hour, the flush of relaxation to the bloodstream at the end of the workday. Whether yours ends at the actual golden hour of sunset or at 8 a.m., or you are an idle mogul with no clock to punch, everyone deserves an hour of happiness. We've assembled 11 of the best.

See also: Shag Sushi Shines as a '70s-Themed Snacking and Drinking Den

11. The Rail Station

Like Garfield, we hate Mondays. That's why we love the poetic trill of this phrase: "Happy Hour all day." Mondays only, get three bucks off domestic taps, bottles, and well drinks from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. And since the Rail Station considers third-shifters (hello, nurses and bakers), there's an 8 to 10:30 a.m. happy hour every morning except Sunday (you can scarcely find a bar open at that hour elsewhere, much less one willing to roll out the barrels for cheap), plus the standard 3 to 7 p.m. time slot with the same discounts above. 3675 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis

10. Grumpy's Northeast

It's like a Midwestern 1950s basement rumpus room: sturdy bar stools for all-day sturdy-man imbibing, vintage beer signage alight to remind you what you're having, fuzzy golden wallpaper from the Sears catalog, and plenty of non-ironic wood paneling. Grumpy's is a neighborhood bar that's really and truly in a neighborhood. Happy hours run from 3 to 6 p.m and 9 p.m. to close Monday through Friday, and specials rotate daily, from $1 off "anything that pours," to $1 hot dish to two-for-$3 domestic bottles. Check their site for the full list of cheap goodies and days and times. 2200 Fourth St. NE, Minneapolis

9. Mona

Too many places try to squeeze their specials in during that dreary hour between lunch and dinner when not much is doing, anyway. Not at Mona, where the drink specials begin at 3 p.m. and sail all the way through until 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. You're looking at $1 off all beer and keg wine, $2 off all wine by the glass, and $3 Phillips well pours, as well as $5 specialty cocktails. 33 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis

8. Tongue in Cheek

The classiest thing to happen to Payne Avenue since Morelli's and Yarusso Bros. opened at the turn of the last century is Tongue in Cheek. No joke. Brunch is most excellent. Dinners are a whiff away from molecular gastronomy wonders. But it's the happy hour we're here for, daily from 4 to 7 p.m. The $4 Chelada beer list, like one with passion fruit, cayenne, and lime, and the $2.50 cocktail teasers with inventions like Myer's dark rum, curaçao, almond syrup, and lime are where they approach the bar with a chef's sensibility. Try a flight for $12. 989 Payne Ave., St. Paul

7. Red Cow

We're a town with so many burgers it may as well be our state sandwich, so it isn't necessarily those we will send you dashing over for. But we will extol Red Cow's excellent twice-daily happy hour (weekends too!), where all wine and select beers are $2 off and inventive snacks like seared tuna, avocado, ponzu, and pepper aioli, or poutine with apples, bacon, and blue cheese all go for six bucks. It happens every day at all three locations from 3 to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close. 208 First Ave. N., Minneapolis; 393 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 3624 W. 50th St., Minneapolis


6. Nightingale

With lush blue booths that envelop like a whirlpool, exposed brick, swoon-worthy lighting, and the expertise of an Alma-trained chef/owner, Nightingale is one of the few grownup places left in all of Uptown. With all of this recommending it, Nightingale is almost overly generous to offer a twice-daily happy hour, 4 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Get $3 rail drinks, $2.50 and $3 select beers, $5 select wines, $2 oysters, $4 fries with malt vinegar aioli, and celery root bruschetta with maple-glazed cipollinis and olives. The piece de resistance: a burger, fries, and tall can of Hamm's for $10. 2551 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

5. Forepaugh's

Chef Don Gonzalez's cooking is the kind of thing that could probably garner Michelin stars, but tucked into eccentric and haunted old Forepaugh's house, we tend to forget about it. Reasons to remember: house wines and rail drinks, $5; tap beers $4, and definitely not your same old same old throwaway wings and sliders. Instead, gorge on hand-wrapped Malaysian samosas with mango dipping sauce and pickled Fresno chilies for $5, or grilled grape leaf-wrapped goat cheese for $6. It happens from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 2 p.m. to close on Sunday. 276 S. Exchange St., St. Paul

4. The 331 Club

Must the hour of happiness be relegated to the palliative care of office stiffs? Maybe you work the night shift? Maybe you're a lucky so-and-so with no job at all? Then the 331's happy hour is for you. Start drinking at 1 p.m and all the way through to 6 p.m. with two-for-$5 mix-and-match Surly, Summit, and other draft pints as well as brats and polish sausages. It's a super long stretch of happy hour, and it happens every day. 331 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis

3. Masa

Big ups to any establishment that extends specials on the good stuff, not just the bottom-shelf swill. At Masa, all tap beers and glasses of wine are fully half off, along with half-off margaritas and sangrias. This means that you can have that $11 glass of Syrah you never treat yourself to, or that marg with the Reposado. The kicker is $2.50 tacos (in downtown!), and it's a very regular occurrence: Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. 1070 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis

2. Sushi Tango

It's advisable to check the clock before entering Sushi Tango because it's probably happy hour, or it's just about to be, or it's almost over. And it doesn't make sense to go any other time when the happy hour specials are as good as these: $1 oysters (all day Sunday), $6 carafes of wine, $5 sakes, $3.50 16-ounce select taps, and a full menu of snacks in the $2.50-$10 range including six-piece sashimi and five-piece nigiri for $8.95. The only thing here that isn't cut-rate is the quality, which stands up to some of the best in town. Get your happiest hours in at either Sushi Tango location, Monday through Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close, Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close, Friday and Saturday noon to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to close. 3001 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 8362 Tamarack Village, Woodbury

1. The Cherry Pit Bar and Grill

Few municipalities beat the East Side at the dual enterprises of hard workin' and hard drinkin'. And few booze emporiums service their clientele quite like the Cherry Pit. Exhibit A: "Double it for a buck drinks." Exhibit B: nightly specials, like $5.50 double cheeseburger baskets, free taco bars, and $3 16-ounce you-call-it taps. For a full list of all this madness, check their website before cruising over to ensure your particular poison is indeed on special that day. Happy hour windows are a little wonky: Monday from 3 to 9 p.m., Tuesday 3 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 3 to 6 p.m., Friday 3 to 7:30 p.m., and Saturday 1 to 5 p.m. We don't know why these hours are the way they are, but we imagine there is some serious drunkenomics to it. And we raise our glass to the scholars who cracked the code and let us drink on the cheap. 735 White Bear Ave., St. Paul

Send your story tips to Hot Dish.