MSP - Daytime bar stops?
In a few weeks, a group of us (25-30) will be taking a party bus to Summit Brewery in St Paul for an afternoon tour. We will have the party bus for a few hours before and several hours afterward.
This is for my husband's 30th bday, and there will be a mix of people on the bus (family, friends, older, "younger", etc).
I'm looking for suggestions on a place or two to stop either before the tour for a quick lunch or unique places to stop for a drink afterward. We are coming from the Northern Mpls suburbs, and am not familer with St Paul at all.
Any suggestions welcome! Where are good places to stop?
I had to google "summit brewery" to find their current location (they used to be in my neighborhood, but they moved a few years ago). The address didn't help much - "910 Montreal Circle" isn't exactly a major address, even in St. Paul.
Turns out they're just NE of Shepherd Rd at 35W. So downtown St. Paul isn't far away. So are all the wonderful Southeast Asian restaurants on University Avenue.
The question is - what does "unique" mean to you?
Me, I'd go for lunch at Ngon Restaurant - Vietnamese fusion in a moderately refined atmosphere (nothing too fancy, but ladies-who-lunch wouldn't be uncomfortable here), with wine and beer. The nearby Mai Village has so-so Vietnamese food but has gorgeous decor and a full bar.
For downscale, how about ribs at Big Daddy's (Friday and) Saturday BBQ at University & Dale - but you'll have to eat in the bus. Needless to say, BYObeer...
On the other side of the river, how about cafeteria-style Italian food at Buon Giorno (deli side of I Nonni) in Lilydale? Pastas are ok, but I prefer the high quality imported meats and cheese. There's an attached wine shop, but I'm not sure if they serve any booze in the deli itself.
And I'll bet you could find a beer and a Jucy Lucy nearby (like at the Nook), but as I don't eat burgers or bar food, I'll have to defer to the experts.
Sounds like a great outing - have fun!
P.S. With this large of a group, you should call ahead - the places I've mentioned are all rather small.
Ngon Vietnamese Bistro
799 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55104
492 Hamline Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116
394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103
981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118
Big Daddy's Saturday Barbecue
609 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103
Thanks, Anne! By unique, I guess I'm looking for things that are totally un-"suburban". Since most of my guests live in the suburbs and don't frequent Minneapolis or St Paul very often I'd like to avoid chain restaurants or sports bars. Especially for the bar stops after the tour.
I love the suggestion for Big Daddy's for lunch, but we are getting Q Fanatic (www.qfanatic.com) catered in later that night. I'll take a look at the others.
Thanks again, Anne! Very helpful!
Q fanatic BBQ
180 Miller Rd. Champlin MN
In keeping with your beer theme, I'd consider a stop at the Muddy Pig, one of the area's best "beer bars"-- it's a pub type atmosphere with perhaps the best beer list in the area. There's also the Happy Gnome which is right around the corner, also a pub type place with a good beer list.
The Muddy Pig isn't too busy at lunch and if you're on a "beer tour" they have an incredible selection, I think over 100 bottled and tap beers. The food is also good, not typical bar fare. With a group that big I would call ahead to make sure they're ready for you.
Billy's on Grand is fun and good for a big group. The food is good and they have pool tables, darts etc. if some of the crew is looking for entertainment.
Finally the Tavern on Grand. Great Walleye. Would want to call ahead to make sure they set aside some space.
By the way, great idea, have an awesome time!
Tavern On Grand
656 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105
Billy's On Grand
857 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN
The Bulldog in Lowertown is a good option. I have only been to the one in N.E. but I am assuming they are very similar. It's bar/grill type setting so might be better for walk in. Great place to go for drinks, especially for beer geeks. The food is significantly better than your normal bar/grill. Outstanding burgers (all kobe beef), hot dogs and great bar food apps (chile w/ brisket is a must try).
The Bulldog Lowertown
237 6th St E, Saint Paul, MN 55101
I was going to suggest Blue Door Pub but 25-30 people? That'd pretty much take up the whole little area. Happy Gnome would accommodate that size much better than some of the other suggestions-but if you have Summit fans, they might not like the price of some of those fanciers beers (Duvet, Stella Artois) --
I'd take a look at Moscow on the Hill if you're looking for a late afternoon drink stop. Or lunch, if it's a weekday. They could fit you all in, and I'd pretty much doubledog guarantee you wouldn't find some of the drinks they offer elsewhere.
Moscow On the Hill
371 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Oooh, good idea! Moscow on the Hill has great selection of vodka and special cocktails. And, since you're travelling by bus, you can try them all.
P.S. Since I'm here, more links for the places mentioned above.
162 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55102
498 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Sweeney's Saloon & Cafe
96 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55102
995 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102
The Blue Door Pub
1811 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104
Another idea, consistent with your brewery tour, would be to have (one of) your afternoon bar stops be Great Waters brew pub.
Great Waters Brewing Co
426 Saint Peter St, Saint Paul, MN 55102