A Minneapolis institution, the EagleBolt is proudly "Gay Owned and Operated for 16 Years." The main floor bar, known as the Eagle, has always been hospitable and down to earth and doesn't carry the "it's always 4 a.m. at a badly attended but overstaffed rave" vibe that some gay bars in town seem to specialize in. Instead, the EagleBolt Bar feels like the kind of place that would have one of the most kick-ass happy hours in all of existence. And indeed it does.
Where: The EagleBolt Bar is right by the old Metrodome between Portland and Fifth Avenue South on Washington. There is limited free parking in their lot but there's ample street parking.
When: The 3-for-1 deal is the exclusive domain of Fridays. It goes from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and one must purchase a five-dollar wristband to get involved in the special. There is also a 2-for-1 deal from 2 to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
What's the Vibe: It's like a gay Cheers. The bar staff is super friendly to anyone who is new, but they know about 75 percent of the folks by name before the rush starts. Also, on our visit, the bartender gave somebody a free round of 3-for-1s simply for having a British accent. So brush up your Cockney slang if you want to save a shilling. There are about five video screens featuring photos that must have file names like "Mr_Softcore_February.jpg" and "Bad_Boy_Wild_069". We enjoyed pretending we weren't enjoying it.
What Can I Eat for $10 or Less: Everything on the menu, except for a couple "high-end" Heggie's Pizzas. They don't run any food specials related to the happy hour.
What Should I Eat for $8.95: The Eagle Burger, a Cajun spiced burger with pepper jack cheese and buttery fried onions. Next time we visit we'll be upgrading to the onion rings or the tots; the fries we got were definitely on a SYSCO truck for the prior three months before we got our hands on them.
What Is Actually on 3-for-1: During the Friday happy hour the 3-for-1 is just for rail drinks and Miller products. Pro-tip: Due to liquor distribution associations this also includes Grain Belt. Pro-tip #2: They give out the last of the tokens for free drinks at 7 p.m. and they only accept them until 7:15 or so, so plan your 3-for-1 ordering accordingly.
This is not the type of happy hour to bring your brother-in-law who loves charcuterie, cocktail culture, and fancy appetizers. It is the place to bring your best friend who's always hunting for an affordable way to kick off a debauchery-filled night.
The EagleBolt Bar 515 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis 612-338-4214
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