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Jan 3, 2009 06:21 PM

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?


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  1. 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

    The Nook
    492 Hamline Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

    Mai Village
    394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

    I Nonni
    981 sibley memorial hwy, Lilydale, MN 55118

    Big Daddy's Saturday Barbecue
    609 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

    1 Reply
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      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 ( 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

    2. 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.

      3 Replies
      1. re: mtullius

        I love the Muddy Pig and the Happy Gnome, but getting a group of 25-30 into either place might be a hard sell...depending on the time of day.

        1. re: BigE

          Either the Pig or the Gnome could probably handle it in the middle of the day (especially if it's during the week). But the Bulldog Lowertown (in downtown St. Paul) is a really good option too-- it's certainly an urban locale...

        2. re: mtullius

          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

        3. Sweeney's, Muddy Pig, and Happy Gnome are all in the same general area... we like all three.

          Have fun!

          1 Reply
          1. re: LizzieB_MSP

            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

          2. If you're looking for burgers, Sham Rock's on West 7th (the Nook's sister restaurant) could easily accomodate you...and they just added Delerium Tremens to the beer taps...

            1 Reply
            1. re: mncharm

              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) --

            2. 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

              1 Reply
              1. re: clepro

                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.

                Muddy Pig
                162 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                Happy Gnome
                498 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                Sweeney's Saloon & Cafe
                96 Dale St N, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                Shamrock Grill
                995 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

                The Blue Door Pub
                1811 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104