Funky Bars in the Twin Cities

Top five hot spots that liven up the scene and add to the ever-expanding list of unique Twin Cities bars.
Image by Todd Buchanan

By Claire Noack

If you are looking for a fun night out while visiting the Twin Cities or are tired of the generic bar scene, try one of these unique Twin Cities bars that add a little something extra. With great drinks and activities, these five unique bars are sure to create a memorable night and make you want to ditch boring bars for good.

Up-Down

Throwback to the 80’s and 90’s at Uptown’s arcade-themed bar. This newcomer to the group of unique Twin Cities bars features skee-ball alleys, pinball machines, life-sized board Jenga and Connect Four, Nintendo 64 console gaming and more than 50 arcade games. We know you’ve been looking for an opportunity to play retro favorites like Ms. Pac Man, Super Mario Bros and Frogger again. Enjoy the extensive craft beer selection and house-made pizzas while playing games for only 25 cents each.

The Shout House

Sip on drinks and order off a full menu of Minnesota comfort foods while watching two pianists battle it out on face-to-face grand pianos. Performing rock ’n roll hits from the 1950s to present, dueling pianos create a high-energy environment that keeps the entertainment going all night long. Audience participation helps decide which performer wins at the end of the night at this downtown Minneapolis bar.

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The Nook

Casper and Runyon’s Shamrocks Irish Nook has a winning combination: brews, burgers and bowling. What more could you want from your local watering hole? With drink specials every night, the famous Juicy Nookie burger filled with molten cheese, and recreational bowling downstairs, visitors are sure to have a good time in this cozy St. Paul bar. And don’t forget to partake in The Nook’s fun tradition of sticking a dollar bill to the ceiling.

The Volstead House

Travel back to prohibition times with this whiskey bar in Eagan. The speakeasy theme will let you experience what it was like in the 1920s. Order classic cocktails, like the Old Fashioned and the Aviation, or choose from upwards of 100 types of whiskey.

If you are interested in more speakeasies, check out Volstead’s Emporium—if you can find it. This speakeasy has a secret entrance in Uptown, complete with a door with a peephole and hidden rooms inside making it one of the more secret establishments on our list of unique Twin Cities bars.

Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den

Encounter the living dead at this zombie-themed bar. It feels like Halloween all year round with creepy décor like a chainsaw hanging on the wall, bartenders dressed like zombie hunters, and a long list of corpse-themed concoctions. Try out Donny Dirk’s sister bars, Psycho Suzi’s and Betty Danger's Country Club, both of which are mainstays on the list of unique Twin Cities bars, all within walking distance from each other in Northeast Minneapolis.

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