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MSP: good food, good beer for birtday dinner

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. 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....

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

    1. 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

        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. 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

          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

            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. 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

            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

              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. 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)

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