10 Best Pubs in Minnesota By
It takes more than just a decent beer selection to make a great pub. You have to have a comfortable atmosphere, tasty pub grub, and awesome bartenders that attract a congenial crowd. Pub games and other activities that create opportunities to socialize also elevate the pub experience. And that’s why these are our favorite pubs in Minnesota.
Half Time Rec, a longtime neighborhood favorite in St. Paul, has won all sorts of awards, from “Best Burger” to “Top 10 Fries.” But if you want to look at the one award that says it all, it’s the accolade for “Best Dive Bar” that makes it a great pub. Awesome food, great beers, bocce ball, and a raucous local crowd that’s always happy to sing along with live music make Half Time Rec one of the best.
For more than a quarter century, Brit’s Pub & Eating Establishement has been “serving scholars and scoundrels,” alike. This dowtown Minneapolis bar and eatery is themed after a classic British pub. Brit’s offers lawn bowling leagues and is the place to go to see any of the big football (soccer) matches on the big screen.
Patrick McGovern’s Pub & Restaurant is a classic, Irish-style pub in the classic, Irish-hearted city of St. Paul. Loved by lunchgoers and St. Patrick’s Day revelers, alike, McGovern’s is the perfect place for happy hour or warming up before a Wild game. It’s fireplaced patio makes it great for outside drinking and dining, too.
Merlins is another entry with a proper English feel. It receives frequent kudos as a top neighborhood bar, as well as for its deep selection of whiskies. Whether you’re popping in for a pint, a pie, or a round of pub trivia, you’ll feel right at home in this corner watering hole.
What was once a walk-up sandwich shop is now, arguably Minnesota’s pub with the best views. Sir Benedict’s Tavern on the Lake offers more than 20 beers, live music, good food, and a patio with sweeping views of Lake Superior. This English-style pub brings a bit of the Isles to the Northland.
You could visit 10 great pubs in Minnesota and never leave the city of St. Paul, which makes lists like this difficult. So, plenty of deserving pubs will be omitted, but not the Dubliner Pub and Café, which has been a stalwart of the University Midway neighborhood for more than three decades. Anytime you’re nostalgic for the Emerald Isle, pop in to the Dubliner for a proper pint, a penny whistle, and pour of whisky. Irish lilts are commonly heard here.
The port city with Duluth is not without its Irish entries, either. Although it’s a newer establishment, we like this Dubh Linn’s Irish feel and full calendar of entertainment from live music to stand-up comedy. Whiskey Advocate Magazine has named it one of the country’s best whiskey bars, so you know Dubh Linn’s selection is deep.
The Local is our favorite among the local pub collection that also includes, Kieran’s, Cooper, and the Liffey. The long two-sided bar, imported from a pub in Ireland, and the intimate booths give the Local an atmosphere that’s unique in the Twin Cities bar scene.
As soon as you walk into Jimmy’s Pub, you’ll forgive that it’s located inside a hotel (the fact the it’s the historic St. James Hotel on the Red Wing riverfront helps a lot, too). The mahogany bar, rich leather furniture, and inviting fire help create the pubby-clubby feel you look for in a pub.
Folks in Northeast are not left publess. Since 2002, Keegan’s has ensured that the denizens of this Minneapolis neighborhood have a place to go and raise a pint, play a board game, finger the book collection, or try and outwit other teams of trivia players.