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MSP: good food, good beer for birtday dinner

sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 07:34 AM

My husband's birthday is next Saturday and I'm looking for dinner recommendations for a party of 8. One requirement for this birthday dinner would be a good beer list and good food to go with the beer. Initially, I was thinking along the lines of a Buster's on 28th or Bulldog, but are there any other standouts (pub food or otherwise) in the metro area? Also, keeping the budget in mind, I'd like to keep the entree price under $15-$18, as we might want to get appetizers/dessert depending on where we go. Thanks for your help!

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  1. mtullius RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 08:08 AM

    I'd suggest Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery-- the beer is superb, and the food is pretty good too. They also seem to frequently have large parties there....

    Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery
    1430 Washington Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55454

    1. Foureyes137 RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 08:19 AM

      Since you're in St Paul, we've been hearing good things about the Blue Door (both their food and beer list), though it sounds like it is far too busy on weekends for a party your size. Worth a shot perhaps.

      Barley John's has great beer, though Buster's and the Bulldog have better food IMO. http://www.barleyjohns.com/

      It sounds like your initial thought may be your best...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Foureyes137
        mtullius RE: Foureyes137 Mar 12, 2009 08:48 AM

        I'm gonna say no chance on Blue Door. It's always busy, and a party of 8 would constitute about half of its entire capacity... but do check it out another time-- it's great!

        For a different angle, you could try Ngon Bistro-- their beer list is amazing, and the food's very good too.

      2. c
        churchka RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 11:45 AM

        Craftsman has really great food and a good beer list, as well as a nice wine list and an excellent bartender.

        Another great place for beer and food is Ngon Bistro. Excellent Vietnamese/French food with a great beer list. Highly recommended.

        I'll second the Bulldog.

        Town Hall Brewery has the best beer in town, but their food is typical. They use Sysco for things like thier fries. Not what I would call good food.

        2 Replies
        1. re: churchka
          KristinT013 RE: churchka Mar 13, 2009 04:42 PM

          I second Ngon. The beer list has gotten quite strong, and I am so glad to have such a great option within walking distance! The food is delicious and entrees range from 8 (for a big bowl of pho or other traditional item) to 20 (the fancier entrees). Really, it is much better than anything you will get at the Muddy Pig, Happy Gnome, or Town Hall.

          I can also vouch that they have great desserts, especially the ginger creme brulee and the vietnamese coffee cake.

          You are more likely to easily get a table for 8 there than at some other places mentioned-- plus they take reservations.

          1. re: KristinT013
            karykat RE: KristinT013 Mar 13, 2009 06:36 PM

            We just came back from Ngon. Wish I had known about that ginger creme brulee before we went! Will have to go back soon to try that. As a beer-lover, I can say that they do have a good selection of beers, especially regional beers.

        2. b
          Brad Ballinger RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 12:54 PM

          I like the beer list at Senor Wong's (Lowertown St. Paul), and the food is an upgrade over the options listed so far (except The Craftsman).

          2 Replies
          1. re: Brad Ballinger
            snoboardbabe77 RE: Brad Ballinger Mar 12, 2009 01:28 PM

            If you're looking for a good beer list with some hits (and some misses), I'd suggest the Happy Gnome. Yes, the beer can be expensive but they have a TON of great beers from all around the world. www.happygnome.com. They claim American Nouveau and it's been awhile since I've been there-but the Chowhubby loves beer and when he needs great beer beyond his standard Summit or Sierra Nevada-we head there.

            I have to agree with mutullius- I've been to Blue Door many a times and 8 ppl on a weekend-won't happen without an extremely long wait - they don't have as varied of a list (though, heck, they have Schlitz) -- beer and wine, no cocktails...and it can be very loud. With that size, you're not going to get one of the booths and therefore, you'd be very cramped.

            1. re: snoboardbabe77
              tex.s.toast RE: snoboardbabe77 Mar 12, 2009 02:00 PM

              Ive found the food at the gnome to be overpriced, predictably pretentious and small. that said its been a while and i know theres been some turnover in their kitchen since i last ate there, take that as you will.

              also pretty close, as in just down the block, is Cheeky monkey, which could possibly accomodate 8 at the big table in the "cafe" side, has good, relatively affordable food and at least some decent beer options. minus points to them for carrying miller lite, plus points for Two Brothers Domaine DuPage French Country Ale - at least they have their bases covered. after a bite at the monkey it would be an easy stroll to the gnome.

          2. d
            dalewest RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 08:47 PM

            Groveland Tap has a bunch of nice beers on tap if pub food works for you. Not sure it would be easy to seat a birthday dinner for eight but could be fun anyway. Call in advance. I think they would try to accommodate. (Uuhm, cheese curds)

            Groveland Tap
            1834 Saint Clair Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

            1. k
              kevin47 RE: sarah in saint paul Mar 12, 2009 11:15 PM

              I'd go with the Muddy Pig. Outstanding beer list (obviously), and quality bar food. The chicken wings are top notch, but you can't go too terribly wrong with anything on the menu, and everything is under $16 or so.

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