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Bottles of Jameson Original Whiskey and Jameson Caskmates, with a cocktail, in a bar in Minneapolis. Photography by Isabel Subtil

Your Local Guide to St. Patrick’s Day in Minneapolis

A storied city for a storied holiday, here are the best pubs, bars, and clubs to ring in St. Paddy’s Day.

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It’s easy to discount the influence of the Irish in the Midwest if you grew up on the coasts. But in the heartland of the Midwest lay deep Irish roots in the Twin Cities, thanks to a sizable Irish population rich in history. While Chicago and the Green River may get the most attention a few hours south, Minneapolis has an authentic Irish appreciation that can’t be faked with some green dye (sorry Chicagoans reading along). The Twin Cities held its first St. Patrick’s Day in 1851, eons before the rest of the country caught on to the luck of the Irish. And the parade still attracts nearly 100,000 in the area eager to participate and observe.

Consequently, Irish pubs are a dime a dozen in Minneapolis: A stone’s throw in any direction, and you’ll land somewhere that proudly revels in its heritage. But in a city that’s rapidly growing and evolving, so are its St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. In fact, you can have any sort of St. Paddy’s Day experience you’d like in whatever neighborhood bar fits your fancy. A whiskey flight more your style? The big game on a flat-screen? A craft beer with your Jameson whiskey? There’s no wrong way to celebrate the Irish — you’re only doing it wrong if you decide to stay at home. Here’s where to find the perfect St. Patrick’s Day celebration for you.

If You’re a Foodie: Union Rooftop Bar & Grill

Spring in Minneapolis means that it could be either a balmy 50 degrees, or well below freezing on St. Patrick’s Day. But at Union Rooftop Bar & Grill, it doesn’t matter — the city’s only year-round enclosed rooftop also happens to have some of its best food. Grab an order of fish and chips, made with fresh cod, house tartar sauce, and fresh fries, or go decadent with the lobster mac and cheese. Wash it all down with the Union Old Fashioned, a perfectly balanced blend of Jameson Black Barrel and sweet vermouth. Oh, and don’t miss the mango-sweet potato cheesecake — trust us.

Union Rooftop Bar & Grill; 731 Hennepin Ave, North Loop, Minneapolis;

If You’re a Cocktail Connoisseur: Icehouse

Minneapolis has plenty of great cocktail bars to choose from, but few have been able to achieve Icehouse’s balance of deliciousness and novelty. Their drink menu has several different sections, but the only part you need to pay attention to on St. Paddy’s Day is “The Isles.” Once you’ve made your way through the cocktail list, Icehouse has equally delicious food: Try the amazingly tender brisket, or throw your arteries to the wind and get the Chuckwagon, with pork cutlet, pork belly, and fondue. Something’s gotta soak up all that Irish cheer.

Icehouse; 2528 Nicollet Avenue, Whittier, Minneapolis;

If You’re a Sports Nut: The Pourhouse

The Pourhouse is a strange combination of Prohibition-themed decor and giant flat-screens to show sports games, but somehow it works. Watch a sport — any sport, since they have 50 TVs — while you sip on an Irish Mule, made with Jameson, lemon, and ginger beer, to celebrate St. Patrick, who chased all those poor snakes out of Ireland when all they wanted was some soda bread. You’re sure to find plenty of green-attired brethren to toast, sing, and hang with, just as the good saint would have wanted it.

The Pourhouse; 10 South 5th Street #11, Central Minneapolis;

If You’re an Oldie but Goodie: Grumpy’s NE

Don’t come to the Northeast outpost of Grumpy’s for the food, because there isn’t any. But the atmosphere? That’s a whole different story. Known for having one of the best beer selections in the city, Grumpy’s is the ideal place to start off your St. Patrick’s Day. This is a dive where, despite the name, the bartenders are happy to chat with you about craft beer, whiskey, or just about anything else all night long. Others might make some bad decisions that night, but you won’t if you stop by Grumpy’s.

Grumpy’s NE; 2200 4th Street NE, Northeast Minneapolis Arts District;

If You’re a Social Butterfly: Up-Down

Nothing brings people together like nostalgia, so if you’re looking for a place to take a group on St. Patty’s Day, Up-Down is perfect. With vintage arcade games from the ‘80s and ‘90s, pinball, life-sized Jenga, and more, all for 25 cents each, you can play all night for the cost of a cocktail at most other bars. Combine that with housemade pizza by the slice (the chicken and waffles pizza will change your life) and a full bar, and you’ve got the perfect SPD lined up. Better start brushing up on your Mario Kart skills now.

Up-Down; 3012 Lyndale Avenue S, Uptown Minneapolis;

If You’re a Traditionalist: Dusty’s Bar

You won’t find any infusions or aiolis at Dusty’s, and that’s why people love it — traditional bar food is done right, and their beer and spirits selection is solid. The surroundings are divey and the bartenders can occasionally be surly, but that’s all part of the experience. The live music set for St. Patrick’s Day may not be Irish, but it will be plenty of fun. Head to Dusty’s that night for a pint, a shot (or two), and a classic corned beef and Swiss. You won’t regret it.

Dusty’s Bar; 1319 Marshall Street NE, Sheridan, Minneapolis;

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