I’m ready to venture onto the Twin Cities bar scene and try my luck with the ladies. What are the best bars to meet singles who aren’t too skeezy?
Romeo with No Place To Go
Ah, Romeo, Romeo…where wilt thou goest?
So many bars, so many women! If you’ve got the money and the time, I’m going to send you off on a whirlwind tour around the Twin Cities that may take you 90 days (because you might get sucked into one watering hole for anywhere from one month to a year, such as has happened to me at a few of the bars I’m going to recommend to you). Make cameos in some, loiter prolongedly in others…at any rate, I guarantee you’ll hook up with some single women, with a little luck and a lot of natural charm. Can’t guarantee they won’t wind up being skeezy in some cases—you’re on your own in that department. I’ve been boonswoggled a time or two myself meeting guys in bars (a modest number, and I’m sticking to that story)…it’s part of the turf.
A few notes on what to look for, before I get on to the list of my recommendations. A long bar counter is essential for striking up conversations. If the bar has little private rooms, nooks and crannies to make out in, even better. You might as well find out ASAP if there’s chemistry, so you don’t waste your time. You’ve got too many places to go, too many women to hit on, too little time. Bars with live music, karaoke, and games are excellent so you can strike up a conversation about these before you get your own game on. Conversely, quiet places with big overstuffed couches and a fireplace are sweet for their romance-inspiring vibe. Unfortunately I don’t know so much about those because I’m a live-music freak, but I’ll list a couple. Also, one thing to keep in mind anywhere you go—don’t come on too strong until you’ve tested the waters gently or playfully with your soon-to-be-object-of-desire-of-the-moment. Women hate it when guys bother them or use bad pick-up lines, persisting in trying to pull them from the barstool when they give clear signals they’re not interested: Turning away. Looking into their drink. Turning their back on you to talk to their girlfriend (or significant other). A half-hearted “heh” at your clever (?) joke. The scrunched-up nose like something smells bad in response to your come-on line. “I’d rather not talk,” “I want to be left alone,” and “Fuck off!” are all pretty clear signs. I know it sounds obvious, but believe me, I’ve done all of the above and some guys actually don’t get it! Guys have been known to be kicked to the curb by bar staff for being pests, or even 86ed—just about the worst thing you could imagine. Enough said about that…here’s the list of where to go to meet women and have a good time if that doesn’t work out.
The Turf Club. I know, all my musician friends are going to hate me for saying this, because they prefer to be listened to, not talked over, and they’ve been complaining that while it’s the best place in town to play, it also seems like one big pick-up joint. You don’t want to be talking up your girl while country noir shows like the Ashtray Hearts or Bon Iver are playing, or you’re going to get a roomful of nasty looks. And especially don’t talk, at all, downstairs in the Clown Lounge during Free Jazz Mondays with the Fat Kids. You will get kicked out, for certain. However, you can make eyes across the room or next to you, and sneak out behind the back to talk later. It will be crowded, and once you become a regular—as you will if you like free jazz—you can ask politely to join people’s tables that you’ve become acquainted with who seem cool about that. There’s some magic about that place, upstairs and down, that ignites passion. You can imagine what goes on in the photobooth—and even, I kid you not, behind the dumpster out back. The Turf is not a meat market like, say, Drink, Barfly, or the Library. It’s modest, casual, dark, big, loud and wonderful. Famously home to the best music in town, it’s often the preferred place for out-of-towners to play. I was attracted, barfly that I am, to both the Turf and the Clown Lounge for about three to four nights a week for two years. I know several people who hooked up there and are now married.
Big V’s. For a breath of fresh air from the Turf, wander across Snelling to Big V’s. A big room with lots of people in their 20s to 40s who love live music and cheap drinks.
331 Club. Usually crowded. Great live music nightly, drink specials, Roe Family Singers on Mondays, Raleigh’s Texas Tacos on Tuesdays, and Venus (of All the Pretty Horses) spinning at 9 p.m.—generally raucous, fun, footstomping music mostly of the Americana persuasion. This is an excellent low-key friendly, casual hangout that is a great place to meet singles. For a chill vibe, and a nice art deco environment at a kind of old-school bar, head down to the Peacock (Erte’s Bar) for quiet conversation at the bar. A little more upscale and hip.
Grumpy’s N.E.. Live music (folk, Americana) and one of the best jukeboxes in town. You can play the soundtrack to lure that girl into your world. (Many women are initially attracted to men by their taste in music.) A fun place to hang at the bar and drink all night.
Stasiu’s. Excellent live music, one of the newest, hippest, dive bars in town. Just go, talk up women (about the music, the old VFW vibe of the place)—these old places have some serious magic happenin’ that can work for you.
Red Stag. A great late-night venue with small plates and drink specials, DJ’s and musicians, and a cozy, romantic vibe. Here you’ll meet single women of the LOHAS variety. Pretty people hang out here. Its quiet, dark red, and black color scheme makes people feel romantically inclined.
In South Minneapolis, the Hexagon is where the cool kids hang out. It’s really fun, and full of irreverent, raucous energy. Great new bands and older established ones play here. It’s often crowded, and it’s very very easy to meet singles and chat them up here. There’s nothing laid-back or inhibited about this place.
Memory Lanes. Live punk bands playing on the bowling lanes! ‘Nuff said.
Café Maude. If you like jazz and experimental music, and a very Euro romantic vibe, this is the place to meet single women who are intelligent, appreciative of art and music, who love life…you can’t go wrong here. Just stop by after 10 p.m. because it’s a fine dining establishment before that.
Town Talk Diner. Bar none, the Town Talk has the best bar counter to hang out and meet singles. It’s really happenin’. That’s a cliché, I know—but wow. The concoctions of the expert, friendly, irreverent bartenders are conversation-makers in and of themselves. The vibe is rowdy and people are talking to new people they meet at the counter all the time. There are fewer boundaries here than just about anywhere else I’ve been.
The Local. One of Kieran’s pubs, home to the downtown business crowd. This Irish pub has great drinks and is huge and warm and friendly. You’ll feel transported and you’ll have the luck of the Irish at your back. It has about 10-15 small private rooms that you can sneak into, and a real, designated make-out room (the only one I know of in town). Cheers!
Kitty Cat Klub. About ten rooms of various themes, with plenty of gigantic couches and mood-lighting to get lost in. You can meet lots of sweet, hip women here.
Bedlam Theatre. The Bedlam is by no means a place you’d normally go to hit on single women—but when you hang out here, you’ll get to know people, whether it’s in the Fireplace Room watching Dreamland Faces or just hanging out on the coolest deck with the best view in the summer, enjoying Polish beer, cheap, good Fair Trade wine, and Jimmy’s delicious homemade Pierogis. You’ll meet women, all right…they’ll be artists, bicyclists, puppet-makers, fiddlers, actresses, playwrights, and art shanty builders…the new young Bohemian set. You’ll have fun.
Hope this helps, Romeo! Next week, I’ll make recommendations for Juliet!
Photo by Max Sparber (Creative Commons).