Best bars for meeting single men


by Cyn Collins

Dear “Juliet,”

Last week I addressed the not-so-difficult situation of finding places to meet single women in the Twin Cities. To be fair to the fairer sex, this week I offer recommendations for bars to meet single men. (Actually, you’ll see single men everywhere. So this will be more of a list of my idea of the most fun places to go to meet single men who aren’t tools.)

Quick tips for the type of environment to look for: bars with a long bar, that look like there’s lots of chairhopping, bars with nooks and crannies to get, um, better acquainted in, bars with live music, and games. Nicest of all to find are bars with cozy fireplaces and huge chairs and couches to melt with one another in these freezing temps.

For places with a chill vibe, with much mixing and mingling among very interesting people:

Nick and Eddie Restaurant and Bar on Loring Park. This is where the artsy people go. They have great drinks and food specials, and feature funky live music and DJs such as Vinyl Venus (deMars). The staff is soft on the eyes, and friendly. You can’t swing a dead cat (or cucumber, if you’re vegetarian) without hitting a cute guy to hit on.

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It bears repeating that hopping around Nordeast is the way to meet single men. 331 Club and Peacock Lounge, as I mentioned earlier. Mayslack’s for meeting good-lookin’ good-timing, honky-tonk men. (Just be sure that whoever you check out, check their left hand for the ring—or the indent on the finger where that ring usually should go.) Listen to sad and lonely Americana and dance like a wild whiskey woman when the spirit catches you. Just don’t get into details about your own sadness and loneliness—this is a big wilter. Go to iQuit at Rogue Buddha Art Gallery on third Thursdays. Live jazz and experimental music in an art gallery: a very fun, hip event. Free jazz seems to be frequented by more men than women—no offense to women jazz-lovers, I am one myself—but it’s true. I think the ratio of men to women at any given jazz and experimental sound event is about two to one. That’s happenin’ this Thursday—tonight, as a matter of fact. The rest of the time, there are the very romantic Artists’ Quarter and the Dakota. It may be slightly tougher to meet single men in these environs due to the need to speak in hushed tones or, better yet, not speak at all—but this is the perfect opportunity to master flirting with your eyes and your body language, and then talk during breaks. Even if you think you don’t know (or like) jazz, you will impress (or learn to impress) men with your interest in jazz music, and grow to love it over time. Sometimes it takes right away, sometimes it’s an acquired taste. Like sushi.

Speaking of sushi, any of our innumerable sushi bars are good places to go. Sushi is sensual. I won’t say what hotate (scallops) reminds me of…try it, and you’ll know what I mean. Like jazz, raw fish is an aphrodisiac. It’s true! Sit at the counter and test the waters by talking to the cute guy next to you. Sushi restaurants are meant to be social, more so than other restaurants. Midori’s on East Lake, Tiger Sushi in Uptown (or the Mall of America…if things go well with that tourist from Kansas, you can get hitched straightaway in the Chapel of Love), Fuji-ya on Lyn-Lake, Obento-ya in SE Como. The possibilities!

The Riverview Wine Bar is very romantic. Small and cozy, with warm reds and golds like a European bistro, it has the sweetest fireplace and couch area! There’s a stellar selection of wine and small plates. There is the ubiquitous bar counter to hang out at and meet people. This is not a rough ‘n’ tumble pick-up place, it’s a nice, quiet, charming place. Here, as in every case, test the waters gently at first to see if the guy is possibly interested in a back-and-forth conversation, then proceed (ask what they’re reading, did they come from the Riverview film across the street, how did they spend Inauguration night . . . that kind of thing).

Varsity Theater: I fell in love with the Varsity Theater when it first opened, and there were dozens of dark burgundy velvet beds lining the walls, with little blue-lit cubby holes to crawl into and snuggle with someone beneath. Okay, I never saw them utilized…but it was a cool idea. And the beds brought people together, literally. One night, when musician Andrew Bird was scheduled to perform there but the show had to be moved due to sudden necessary renovations, Bird said that when he came back he’d hopefully get to play in that “giant make-out room.” The beds have since been removed, but there are still ample deep leather couches, dark spaces, and little café tables with cute lamps. Owner Jason McLean (formerly of the Loring Park Café) is this town’s master of creating groovy, romantic environments filled with art and magic. There’s an unbelievable roster of some of the world’s best musicians, local and global, and it’s very easy to meet people here.

The Strip Club near Mounds Park in St. Paul. Not your former boyfriend’s strip club, this place features raw beef of another nature. Again, it’s not a pick-up joint, but a very beautiful, old-school supper club, with modern bistro fare. The decor features dark reds, blacks and whites with wrought iron, and a spiral staircase leading up to a fireplace (for cozy meals). The bar is a similar environment to the Town Talk, but a little quieter: this is owned by the former Town Talk owners, who are skilled at hospitality—bringing people together with exciting food and drink. It’s an exquisite place to hang out, and you’ll meet like-minded folks here as well. They have extraordinary concoctions and infusions that are great conversation makers.

Loring Pasta Bar: Another Jason McLean creation—this place is like the Moulin Rouge, tres beaux! It’s so staggeringly romantic that you will feel like you’re in love, even if you’re still looking. This is a great place to sit at the bar or near the stage and meet fellow music-lovers and lovers of fantastical, magical environments. It’s much easier to meet single men when you’re relaxed and you’re having such a great time that you don’t even care. Then, it just magically happens. A note here on meeting single men. The worst thing you can do is try too hard, or try to mix in an environment you’re simply not comfortable in. Following the music and environment you love will help, and when you talk to and flirt with guys you’re interested in, you’ll be your natural, beautiful self and have a good time in the process.

Hope this helps. Write me if you have questions after you’ve met the guy potentially of your dreams but have some quandaries or woes. Have fun out there! Knock ‘em dead, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…or at least, don’t do anything that won’t make for a good story afterwards.


Published on 1/15/09. Photo by Abby Ladybug (Creative Commons).