The annual rite of spring is upon us once again as Art-a-Whirl descends on Northeast Minneapolis this weekend, taking over the shops, galleries, streets, and restaurants with its influx of art-lovers. For three days, bicycles will crowd the side streets, Art-a-Whirl guides will litter entryways, and music will pulse through the air on the 300 block of 13th Avenue NE.
With over 500 artists participating in the festival, and several times that many flocking in to sightsee, peruse, and purchase, Art-a-Whirl is perhaps the single biggest event of the year for humble Nordeast. And all that hustle, bustle, and art appreciation is sure to make a person peckish. The Hot Dish is here with the top five hot destinations for refreshment this weekend for weary Art-a-Whirlers. If you can snag a table, that is.[jump]
5. Northeast Social Club While the classy digs of the Northeast Social Club usually aren't open during weekend daytime hours, in honor of Art-a-Whirl, they'll be flinging the doors open at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. They'll have a sidewalk cart slinging BBQ pork and jerk chicken sandwiches, as well as their full lunch and dinner menus inside. To toast that pricey new piece of art you just procured with a glass of champers and an Angus sirloin, this is the place to go.
4. The Anchor Fish & Chips Hardcore Art-a-Whirlers could finish off Friday night with a pint of Guinness at The Anchor at 1 a.m. and be back for the the Full Whack breakfast of two eggs, rashers, bangers, pudding, potato bread, grilled tomato and mushrooms, and beans at 10 a.m. on Saturday. This is one joint that's sure to be packed from opening to closing all weekend, so be prepared to kick back on the sidewalk for a spell after you put your name in. The chips are worth the wait.
3. The Smack Shack at the 1029 Bar The Smack Shack, which has set up shop in the back of the 1029 Bar, will be offering an Art-a-Whirl Lobster Boil on Saturday, from noon to 8 p.m. For $25, each person receives 1 1/2 pounds of lobster, Polish sausage, corn, mashed potatoes, and buttered milk bread by Salty Tart. Reserve a lobster by RSVPing to the Facebook event page, and post a message on the event's wall if you want to reserve more than two lobsters. Those feeling less indulgent can content themselves with items off the regular menu, such as the lobster roll, lobster mac, or Smack burger.
2. 331 Club The 331 Club is about as close to Art-a-Whirl home base as you get. They kick things off with a stream of live bands on Friday night that doesn't stop until 9 p.m. on Sunday. The parking lot and alley are full of artists, vendors, a stage for the live music, and an outdoor bar slinging PBR tall boys. The 331 Club also offers an array of sandwiches, pizzas, and snacks to help soak up the beer.
1. Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge Psycho Suzi's lurked on the fringes of the festival's boundaries in years past, but its new location is right in the heart of the action. They're throwing a two-day tiki party on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 9 p.m. on their brand-new, expansive patio overlooking the mighty Mississippi. The madness will overflow into the parking lot, where they'll be adding a beer garden and tiki bar. They encourage you to bring your dog and "show your friends your good taste ends in the art gallery." Don't mind if we do.