Why you should care
Because waistlines lose value during winter in the north woods.
So, it’s Super Bowl Sunday and you’ve found yourself in the Twin Cities without a ticket to Super Bowl LII. Better luck in 2035, but, in the meantime, let’s get down to business. On this the most magical football day, a certain ritual applies: food, beverage, food, food and beverage. Repeat. Super Bowl Sunday is a grotesque American establishment, and so is this. I hope you’ll join me. And for those of you who find yourself in the Twin Cities at a later date, when gluttony need not apply, consider this a rough weekend itinerary.
An Urban Diner in Uptown Minneapolis
The Lowry, on Hennepin Avenue in Uptown, is exactly as advertised: a true urban diner. A rustic-chic interior with wooden fixtures, leather booths, a raging fireplace and a marble-top bar sets the tone upon entry, while the indie-alt playlist signals that this place is quality without the frills. Whether you seek a boozy brunch, family dinner or late-night escapade, the Lowry fits the bill. My suggestion? Grab a bar stool for some oysters and a cocktail. Or, if the sun has yet to set, ask for the shirred eggs — roasted in a gratin dish, the eggs take similar form to their poached Benedictine counterparts — and beverage of your choice. Cubed ham and mushrooms swim in a decadent melt of Swiss cheese and truffle cream. And once you break the soft eggs? Hollandaise never stood a chance. From there, the Lowry finds the end zone.
Eat: Shirred Eggs, $9.99
Drink: Freehouse No. 1 Kölsch, $6
Favorite Dive of Minneapolis Misfits and a Literary Legend
Across the street and a block down from the Lowry sits Liquor Lyle’s, perhaps the greatest dive bar this frisky young journo has ever tiptoed into. With 10 televisions, including a massive projector, you won’t miss a minute of the Big Game, plus there are parlor games (billiards, darts, Big Buck, Golden Tee) to keep the commercial watchers occupied. Put lightly, Lyle’s is rough around the edges: It hasn’t changed an inkling since the ’80s. Insane Happy Hours run from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (two-for-one drinks, free chicken wings, complimentary cocktail with food), and nothing beats a quality cheeseburger for $5. If you really want to fit in, slink into one of the red vinyl booths and order a shot and a beer. Four bucks, please. Fun fact: In 2015, Liquor Lyle’s hosted the “Irish funeral” of the late, great journalist David Carr.
Eat: Walleye Fingers, $7.25, or the Cheeseburger Special, $5
Drink: Grain Belt Nordeast Lager, $3.25
The College Bar Where Brews and Bubbling Burgers Collide
Across the Mississippi River, in Como, Blue Door Pub sits a mile east of the University of Minnesota’s riverfront campus. An authentic college atmosphere is hard to come by in most big cities, so when the Golden Gophers are on TV, you sidle up to the bar and order a Juicy Lucy. Simply put, it’s a hamburger filled with cheese. Sure, that makes it a cheeseburger, but this is its own beast — a Twin Cities staple with several variations in town. Two ground beef patties are shaped to engulf a bulbous ball of cheese. Once cooked, the burger leaks with gooey goodness, a perfect combination of meat, grease, dairy and potato roll. At Blue Door, “The Classic Blucy” — a rendition of the aforementioned Juicy Lucy — is the way to go.
Eat: The Classic Blucy, $8.50
Drink: Surly Furious Amber IPA, $6. And if you have time, skip 2 miles down the Mississippi for a tour of Surly’s brewery and barroom.