Some people that Kim works with decided it would be fun to have a Thursday night happy-hour get together every other week this summer and because I work next door she figured she’d ask if I wanted to come along. This week they decided to head down to the 8th Street Grill and Bar which has happy-hour specials between 3PM and 7PM.
Kim and I usually work until around 4 but since I was busy working on something a little past my usual quitting time, I didn’t even get out of my office until 4:15 and after some futzing around with our bags, we headed down to street level at around 4:30. We walked in the open-air bar at around 4:40 and being that it wasn’t quite yet prime happy hour time the place was almost deserted except for the crowded patio area. We sat down at the bar even though there were plenty of tables open in the rest of the place. The bartender came over and asked if we wanted to see a beer list but I was so close I could read the taps myself. They had a nice selection (similar to Panino Brothers’ setup) with about 30 or so tap beers along one wall and another 4 or 5 around the corner. I decided on their Flat Earth Porter (apparently their “seasonal” tap although I’m not quite sure why a porter would be in as a summer seasonal) and Kim ordered a Stevens Point Root Beer. There was a list of their daily happy hour specials hanging above the bar and Thursday read $3 St Paul beers. Their tap beers are normally $3.50 at happy hour so I decided to stick with the St Paul beers today.
The waitress let us know that in addition to the reduced price on the taps that they also offered $2 off appetizers. After just having our drinks for a bit, while the waitress scurried around helping others, we asked for a menu and eventually we ordered their Roasted Red Pepper Hummus as well as an order of onion rings. Kim has been craving onion rings lately I guess and I have always enjoyed red pepper hummus — especially when I was on my diet not so long ago…
The service was friendly but it took a bit to get served even when prompted by the bartender asking if I wanted another. I ordered a Summit Hefeweizen and as soon as I did the bartender ripped the St Paul specials sign down off the overhead sign. I was a bit perturbed and then concerned that she was going to try and charge me $3.50 a tap. I had the photo evidence to prove my case but I ended up paying $3.11/beer (taxes?). I figured the Hefeweizen would be a nice summery drink and while I don’t jump up and down over Summit’s heavy clove taste, I made it through ok ;)
Right after I got done asking Kim, “how fucking long does it take to make onion rings and a batch of hummus up,” they both appeared in the hands of another server. Kim just shook her head at me in disbelief and told me I was being a grumpy bastard… The roasted red pepper hummus was tasty, a tiny bit spicy in the back and looked like it was not straight from the plastic container. It had a nice orange color and might have passed for raw pumpkin if I hadn’t tasted it. Even though there were plenty of warm and soft pita slices to dip with I ended up using them all, with hefty doses of hummus, before the hummus itself was gone. I used the spoon to get the rest — yes, I actually enjoyed it that much. Kim’s onion rings were large and looked nice and golden but had a slight fishy taste from what I imagine could only be oil cross contamination. Kim asked for a side of ranch and the container that came out was entirely too small for the size of the onion rings. She was disappointed that she had to finish off her three or four remaining rings with inferior ketchup — I would have been fine taking over for her but next thing I knew they were gone; so much for that idea.
Overall, eh. The food was ok for appetizers (mine was great but the fishy onion rings brought it all down to the “ok” level) but I certainly wouldn’t rush back again with so many other choices in town. While the beer selection is good you’re probably better off at The Depot for their happy hour specials at $2.50… It was far less crowded over there, the service was more prompt because of it, and the menu was more restaurant-like rather than bar foodish. Guess it depends on your mood and your location.
When it was all said and done we ended up paying $23.99 before tip for two appetizers, two beers and two root beers. Not bad but nothing to get all atwitter over. We probably won’t be back anytime soon. We are planning on hitting happy hour once or twice a month this summer and should have a steady stream of reviews for all of you working downtown — keep checking back or subscribe for updates.
8th Street Grill and Bar
800 Marquette Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55402
See all the pictures from today on Flickr here (camera).