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Day 3 - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Friday, August 12, 2006
Where frustration mounted and beer became more and more expensive...

We got up Friday morning feeling a little funky. Not hung over, but our digestive systems wwere having difficulty adpating to a diet of mostly beer. With some necessary stops made along the way, we arrived in Minneapolis right at lunchtime.

Minneapolis, MN

#40 Matt's Bar [map]
Brandon: Grain Belt Premium
Scott: Initially Killian's, but it was flat so switched to Grain Belt Premium
Home of the famous "Jucy Lucy" burger, this place was absolutely packed with a lunchtime crowd. Due to crowd we decided to skip the burger for now but vowed to return on Sunday.

#41 Roundup Beer Hall [map]
Brandon: Bud Light
Scott: Miller Genuine Draft
We found this on a corner next to a highway in one of the most diverse neighborhoods we have ever seen anywhere. We had to stop because ever since Munich you just don't see places called "Beer Hall" that often anymore. The bartender was rather suspicious of us at first, asking Brandon "Do you really live in Missouri?" She warmed up to us after a little while, though.

#42 Champions Sports Bar [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Miller Lite
This sports bar was a little bit of an anomaly in what seemed to be a predominantly Somalian neighborhood. The interior revealed a large space divided into two major rooms, with a huge bar in the center that wrapped and twisted around into both areas. This meant that there were areas that the bartender could not see without moving around -- indeed, we were here for a bit before we were spotted and served. This was the first bar we had seen with a cellphone ban. It was also the first time we saw pull-tabs sold in a booth by an attendant -- something we'd soon learn was common here.

We walked across the street to a White Castle (which we no longer have in KC) where Brandon had 3 sliders and 7 tabasco chicken rings and Scott had 2 chicken sandwiches and 8 tabasco chicken rings. Mmmmmmm... chicken rings!

The one-way streets and heavy traffic in this neighborhood started to get on Brandon's nerves and we circled around a few times before finally getting out of this area and finding our next destination. But the next neighborhood would not calm him, as one way streets, heavy traffic and lack of parking drove him to the verge of madness. We've never seen so many people on bicycles anywhere. Can't blame them -- trying to drive here is borderline crazy.

#43 CC Club [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Killian's
I'm surprised we even stopped considering how hard it was to get here. We had to keeep circling around because we couldn't make the turn at first and then couldn't find a place to park.

We then headed on over to the Uptown neighborhood and decided to just take the first parking meter we saw. Anxious to get downtown, we put in only an hour's worth of change and headed off to try to find a drink.

#44 The Independent [map]
Brandon: Oberon Ale
Scott: Two Hearted Ale
Heading inside a double door and then up a few flights of enclosed metal stairs we weren't sure if we were heading to a bar or a strip club. But at the top we found ourselves outside a large modern bar in what we later learned to be a shopping mall. The bar was square shaped and offered up a selection of unusual and upscale beers. Flat-panel internet kiosks were available, and the restroom was a little unnerving at first because it was a 4-stall unisex restroom.

#45 Uptown Bar [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Miller Lite
This was a nice spacious semi-dive. Our beers were a rather unusual price -- $2.85 each.

Realizing we were about up on our parking meter, we finished our beers quickly and dashed back to the car. We then proceeded north towards downtown.

#46 Liquor Lyle's [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite x2
Scott: Summit Porter x2
Yep, it was happy hour, so we had no choice but drink two beers. This place had a cool, funky, almost "shagadelic" interior. The men's room had a high quality trough. "Minnesota - Land of 10,000 Troughs".

Driving to our hotel...

We checked into our hotel (the downtown Ramada, [map]) and then walked across the highway into a slightly seedy area. We passed a couple of homeless guys and while we're well used to dealing with them back home, one of theme caught me with a line that due to all the stuff I was carrying was entirely plausible, "Excuse me, you dropped something." I still managed to shake him without paying a dime thanks to my usual "Only if you accept Visa" response, but not without me first noticing that his eyes were brownish-yellow from hepatitis.

Here's the pictures I took just before that incident. The beige building in the lower left of the first picture is our hotel.

#47 Lee's Liquor Bar [map]
Brandon: Miller High Life
Scott: Miller High Life
This was a good quality dive, the kind we love. Another place with a rectangular bar. Brandon spotted a Spuds Mackenzie lamp and snapped a photo of it. This would be our last cheap beer of the day.

We re-crossed the highway and began exploring Minneapolis's Warehouse District.

#48 Mackenzie [map]
Brandon: Hickory Prima
Scott: Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Located in the Orpheum Theater building, this bar boasted two levels plus a patio out back. Our bartender was Gary and he was assisted by Hillary.

#49 The Saloon [map - note real address is 830 Hennepin]
Brandon: Bud Light
Scott: Bud Light
"Um... uh-oh...", Brandon said, coming to a stop after we stepped inside. Oh well, it was too late to turn back now, so we settled in on some empty stools at the rectangular bar. Facing several artistic wall photos of nude men, we glanced around the room and noticed that this placed sold its own private-label bottled water. (We would return later to get some as souvenirs.) This was one of the first bars we had been in where no one talked to us, and Brandon wondered if his wedding band was causing people to believe we were a couple. Finding the restroom here was an task, it was way in the back through a dark area and around a smaller bar that was a little more, um, "adventuresome".

We walked around outside a bit exploring the area...

Then we found ourselves at...

#50 O'Donovan's Irish Pub [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Guinness
This was a pretty upscale place but not snobbily so, and was one of our most expensive beer tabs of the night.

#51 Champp's Sports Bar [map]
Brandon: Coors Light
Scott: Coors Light
This was a cool stop -- a long outdoor bar in an alley. Mary was our bartender. We then found, while trying to locate the restroom, that this alley bar was actually part of a much larger indoor bar. (And yes, I spelled the name correctly.)

#52 The Loon Cafe [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Miller Lite
These were the most expensive draws of the night, $11 for 2 beers. I can't even imaginee what it would have beeen for imported beer.

#53 Brother's [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Miller Lite
Downstairs bar, next to "Refuge". Square shaped bar. As we were chatting and getting rather lit, two young Asian people came in with a large camera. We didn't pay much attention at first until there was a tap on my shoulder.

Them: "Excuse me, do you guys like White Castle?"

Us: "Yeah, in fact we had it today."

Them: "Have you tried chicken rings?"

Us: "Yes, today, for the first time, and we loved them!"

Them: "Great! Here are some coupons for some free rings and sliders."

Us: "Thanks! We're from Kansas City and they closed all of our White Castles so we're glad you have them here."

Them: "In that case, here's a whole pile of coupons, get as many as you can before you go home."

Us: "Wow, thanks!"

Them: "Mind if we take your picture for our promotional materials?"

They then snapped our picture and had us sign releases.

#54 Pizza Luce [map]
Brandon: Miller Golden Light
Scott: Miller Golden Light
People ordering whole pizzas were directed to the left, people ordering by the slice were directed to the right. The guy in front of us in line had an open box of Skillet Helper with him. We each grabbed a big, tasty slice and had a beer.

#55 Sawatdee [map]
Brandon: PBR
Scott: PBR
It's funny... we remember this place for it's funky name, but that's all we remember. We didn't even remember to take a picture but I found this one online...

#56 New City [map]
Brandon: Bud Light
Scott: Bud Light
This place had several pool tables and we played a game or two.

#57 The Brass Rail [map]
Brandon: Bud Light
Scott: Bud Light
We had noticed a large group in a fenced area in front of The Gay 90s, a place we had assumed was a gay bar both from the name and the techno beat coming from inside. Brandon asked the bouncer at the place next door about that fenced-in crowd and he said it was a smoking area. Brandon then asked him where a good place was to get a beer and the bouncer said "right on inside here". We stepped in and found this to be a gay bar with a stage and poles.

Nothing more will be said about this place.

We forgot to get a picture but I found one online on the blog of a man who is my new personal hero...

Our walk back to the hotel was somewhat entertaining as we were nicely buzzed, didn't really know for sure where we were, and got confused by the numeric grid system used in this city. Like the previous night we took off in the wrong direction, but were lucky in 3 regards. (1) We figured it out before getting clear to the other side of the city, (2) We stumbled across one more bar that we had on our list of must-visit places, and (3) We found that last bar just before our bladders were about to explode.

#58 Kieran's Irish Pub [map]
Brandon: Miller Lite
Scott: Guinness
This was our last stop of the night, as the beers in this area were too large and too pricey and Brandon was starting to get beered out. But I can't knock him for it, because tomorrow it would be my turn.

We finally made our way back to the hotel -- this time relying on Brandon's navigation skills rather than my own. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to get online to make a post, we quickly passed out to recharge for what would turn out to be an exciting 4th day.

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