The crush of sweaty humanity that congregates in Loring Park for Pride weekend can evoke all sorts of appetites. And sometimes, it's for simple repast and refreshment to gird yourself for further revelry. While the park will provide space for plenty of food trucks and vendors, head to the perimeter of the park and down Hennepin Avenue when it's time to escape funnel cakes and hot dogs.
So fresh and so clean, clean? If you bothered to bust out your best bling for the fest, dine at Lurcat, where the stars go when they get hungry (both Prince and Mick Jagger recently ate here). Most definitely more than a bar, the posh dining room offers all sorts of shadowy nooks and crannies for getting to know new friends over Chilean Sea Bass and dark chocolate profiteroles.
1640 Harmon Pl.
Restaurateur extraordinaire Kim Bartmann's latest endeavor is sure to be rolling out some extra fun festivities for the weekend, including Good 4 Gay Happy Hour, fro 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 24. Serving locally sourced upscale casual fare for the neighborhood: frites, flatbreads, cheeseburgers, tagliatelle to name a few. Also serving Sunday brunch.
1612 Harmon Pl.
The stalwart neighborhood bar every 'hood wants but few get, where the bartenders at least try to remember your name, the drinks are stiff, and the Black & Blue Burger belongs on every top 10 list in town.
1225 Hennepin Ave.
If you're in the mood to woo a dude, the Butcher is the place to be. It's practically usurped the steakhouse for the kinds of big-ass meaty grub for ordering up when celebrating Something Important.
1121 Hennepin Ave.
One of the oldest gay bars in either city, the Saloon will be ground zero for raucous, racy fun, the oontz oontz speakers blaring all the way to the exurbs.
830 Hennepin Ave.
All-things-for-all-people Mexican, this big place with a big patio is good for people-watching, all-you-can-eat "guac on tap," margaritas, and even pitchers of sangria for deep thirsts.
609 Hennepin Ave.
If you're heading to Pride and are unfamiliar with the Gay 90's, well then for shame. It's just a Disneyland theme park for grownups, that's all, with rooms divvied up to suit whatever pleasure: female impersonators, bouncy-pecced strippers, leather, hip-hop, techno, and probably some secret spots we know not of, but if you do, then good on ya. They actually do serve food, a good idea for a bar that officially provides the stiffest pours in town: straightforward bar food — baskets, wings, burgers, etc. and a "deep throat split" that puts bananas and ice cream in compromising positions.
408 Hennepin Ave.
Believe it or not, there is food served here, but we go for the beefcake. A true dive in the real sense, this is a place with grit, attitude, and scantily clad dudes strutting their stuff down the runway. While it has undergone a makeover, even touting a "VIP section," this is no place for kiddies or whiners. Strap on your naughty and come inside.
Basic burgers, sammies, pizzas, and fried things.
422 Hennepin Ave.
Sal's on Fifth
If the charms of the 90's and the Brass Rail have got the better of you, now is the time to cruise across the street to power down a slice or two at Sal's on Fifth. Serving cheap but respectable New York-style 'za by the slice, gyros, and wings, the bull's-eye location between a zillion boozy bars makes it a depository for all sorts of late-night shenanigans, jokesters, and sometimes even ne'er-do-wells. Come hungry and thick-skinned.
10 N. Fifth St.
The Copper Pot is a safe haven of heady aromas, so step over the threshold here for a reprieve from block party drama. Authentic Indian curries, naan, kebabs, and biiryanis could be a rich and elegant salve for celebration-weary bodies.
10 S. Fifth St.
The California spa cuisine might appeal if you're maintaining washboard abs to pair with that neon banana hammock, but we like it better for the secret underground Library Bar. Surrounded by millions of words, you'll feel smarter via osmosis as you quash brain cells with that third cosmo.
901 Hennepin Ave.