WXYZ bar lets guests customize experience


Okay, it's your birthday. You gather your friends at a bar to celebrate, but what you really want is to finally get your way. Amy Phillips of wxyz bar in the aloft hotel (900 Washington Ave. South, Minneapolis), says that that's where she can help. Phillips says, she wants people to have "a connection to why they are there."

To do this, she allows people hosting big gatherings to help customize the experience. The birthday guy or gal can pick out the playlist of music bar guests will listen to, hooking up his/her iPod to the bar's sound system. Though the list has to be pre-approved, it seems like the little bit of forethought would be worth having your friends hear all your favorite tunes. Also, Phillips says that the host can select a birthday drink from the bar to be offered at a lower price - so a lychee martini that's normally $9.50, can go for $7.00 when it is donned the birthday martini of the night.

The wxyz bar is located on the ground level of the aloft hotel. The lighting shifts throughout the day, creating a modern feel. The hip crowd buying appetizers and drinks somehow co-exist with guests coming and going from the hotel. Phillips says the concept of the bar and the hotel is to be tied to the community and to be a particular hang out place, rather than just another bar. To lure people in, wxyz bar has their own large set of popular 80s games including a giant Connect Four and a giant Jenga (and normal-size Balderdash and Scattergories.) In addition, there's a pool table and two big screen TVs where visitors can play Wii.

Phillips says wxyz bar is still perfecting its menu, which currently includes some basic to slightly upscale items, like chicken strips and shrimp cocktail. She points out that some of the items that were popular in their West Coast locations have not gone over as well here in Minneapolis: "The average hawkeye fan is not a fan of steamed edamame." However, Phillips says, wxyz bar hopes to debut a re-vamped menu around mid-December.