07 September, 2006
The Monte Carlo Map - Tagzania
Ahhh "The Monty..." The bar of bars. Red leather chairs. Waitresses wearing black uniforms with white aprons. The wall of bottles.
- Beer/Drinks - Truth be told, I don't go there for the beer. I go for the reasonably priced large martinis. A wide variety of vodkas, gins (my poison), and other spirits, all displayed on shelves reaching to the ceiling. My favorite of late is the Hendrick's dry martini, up, with a couple of olives. Shaken, of course.
- Food - The classic menu is typical of a steak and chop house of the '50s. Excellent steaks and good pasta. The freshly homemade chicken soup is particulary good. Appetizers range from the tasty and interesting Szechuan green beans to oysters on the half shell.
- Atmosphere - This place is something out of a classic movie. The staff are knowledgeable, helpful and friendly, and classically attired. The wood-paneled walls evoke a private club. There is no dress code, though, which makes it an inviting place. The newly finished outdoor seating area provides a very pleasurable dining experience in the warmer months.
Final analysis - What can I say? Martinis, good food, and a classy, but casual atmosphere - The Monte Carlo is probably my favorite bar.
27 June, 2006
The Independent map - Tagzania
Despite being only a few years old, The Independent has become a mainstay of Uptown drinking and dining life. Good beer, great bistro food, plenty of people watching, occasional live DJs, and extended happy hours all contribute to this great Uptown venue.
- Beer - An excellent, but small selection of good beer. My recent favorite, Bell's Two-Hearted, is always on and relatively affordable at around $4 a pint. A special note on liquor: The Independent is one of the few places in Uptown that serves Hendrick's gin, for those of you who have developed a taste for it.
- Food - Here's where "The Indy" shines. Great food at reasonable prices. $5 appetizers such as chicken quesadillas, duck dim sum, massive onion rings, and colossal plates of loaded nachos are available during happy hour and after 10pm.
- Atmosphere - The atmosphere varies depending on what time of day and what day of the week you visit. Weekends are always busy with mostly a younger crowd, but weeknights can bring in a good mix of people. The waitstaff and bartenders are always friendly and skilled at service.
Final analysis - Great for parties, hanging out with friends, or just people watching.
14 November, 2005
- Beer - A decent selection on tap, but the bartender didn't know off-hand what they had.
- Food - We just had appetizers and I felt that the floutas were bland. I'll have to try some of the other fare to make a decent review of the food
- Atmosphere - Just another upscale, unimaginative interior that doesn't distinguish itself. I'm not sure what the weekend happy hour or after work scene is. It might be better during those times. I noticed a game room, which could provide a decent place to socialize for "guy's nights out." The dining room is resplendent with wood paneling. Nice, but not so interesting in Uptown, in my opinion.
Final analysis - OK for happy hour, I'd guess, but otherwise don't bother, unless you want to go to a suburban venue in the midst of Uptown.
09 November, 2005
Let the reviews begin...
I'm starting close to home with a nice bar called Lucia's. As a frequent visitor to the Wine Bar section of this restaurant/bar/bakery, it has become my local for evening snacks and cheap but quality beer. At $3.00 a pint, I believe that it is the cheapest beer in Uptown, and there's no need to wait until 10:00 for a happy hour.
There are only three taps, but the selection is good. Guiness always seems to be available and the two others change at the behest of the gifted bartender. The wine selection is also not overly extensive, but I would say complete enough for any intermediate wine drinker to find something tasty.
The menu is one of the most enlightened in the Twin Cities. Bar snack offerings of rosemay nuts, assorted olives, French sausage and fruit top the "Little Bites" menu. Other offerings include salads, pizzas, and pasta. The most significant aspect of the menu is that the chefs use organic ingredients whenever possible, if not always.
Lastly, the ambience is one of a local neighborhood bistro and the servers are always very friendly and helpful with suggetions.
Mark Lucia's down as one place not to miss when in Uptown Minneapolis