New class

The Bachelor Farmer (est. 2011)

50 2nd Av. N., Mpls., 612-206-3920,

Go for: Chop Mondays.

While general palate dazzling goes down daily, the Monday pork-chop special at the Dayton bros’ house of eats warrants an early-week trip. It’s possible that this thick, monster chop comes from a secret breed of horse-sized swine. But don’t let that keep you from teeing up Bachelor Farmer’s spectacular duck liver pâté, too.

Marvel Bar (est. 2011)

50 2nd Av. N., Mpls., 612-206-3920,

Go for: Envelope-pushing elixirs.

While paying homage to the classics, the Bachelor Farmer’s downstairs cocktail den is the Twin Cities’ premier destination for innovative cocktailing. If you’ve already tried the Olivetto and the Gatsby — required drinking for local libation hounds — consider the Scoville. Unassumingly complex, this gin-based drink has a softened spiciness courtesy of a habañero tincture and distilled water.

Bar La Grassa (est. 2009)

800 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-333-3837,

Go for: Elite Italian.

With his culinary hand, James Beard winner Isaac Becker set the table for a new era of North Loop dining. Along with his wife, Nancy St. Pierre, and their business partner, Ryan Burnet, the big-shot chef brought four-star Italian fare to Washington Avenue in 2009. Four years later, an always-packed dining room suggests BLG’s success is no flash in the saucepan.

Borough (est. 2013)

730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-354-3135,

Go for: Gastro bliss.

Led by Travail vets Tyler Shipton and Nick O’Leary, Borough’s cagey kitchen team came out this year as fiery as its spicy grilled octopus. The seemingly hungry young chefs churn out euphoric fare, like their pan-roasted halibut, set in a bewitching broth, or their fondue-accompanied steak. A sexified patio bar came just in time for summer.

Parlour (est. 2013)

730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-354-3135,

Go for: Good vibes, great drinks.

The cocktail lounge below Borough takes an anti-stuffy approach to potable enlightenment. Feeling like a Jack and Coke or High Life pony? That’s cool. But you’ll miss the boat on the thoughtfully dillish Pickle in the Middle or the highly addictive Spicy N’ Stormy. Come for the fun atmosphere and cocktail craftsmanship, stay for the beef-gasmic burger (a benefit of partial access to Borough’s kitchen).

Fulton taproom (est. 2012)

414 6th Av. N., Mpls., 612-333-3208,

Go for: Growlers or pints.

These days, no Minneapolis cranny is complete without its own beer hub. While still repping its namesake southwest Minneapolis neighborhood of origin, Fulton has made the North Loop its adopted home. Since opening last year, its taproom has become the area’s beer-geek Grand Central and also draws hordes of Twins fans during baseball season.

Haute Dish (est. 2010)

119 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-338-8484,

Go for: Head-spinning comfort food.

Gussying up Midwestern favorites an ounce of truffle oil and bone marrow at a time, Landon Schoenefeld’s ahead-of-the-curve eatery was the first foodie attraction to open after Bar La Grassa. Aside from sensational sweetbreads and its signature tater-tot “hautedish,” the weekend brunch and dinner spot boasts an above-average cocktail list.

Smack Shack (est. 2013)

603 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-259-7288,

Go for: Your seafood fix — and to play the tri-wheel.

After almost a year’s worth of anticipation, Josh Thoma’s food-truck favorite pulled into its North Loop bricks-and-mortar space this February. The “casual coastal” joint has made a splash in its expansive, immobile digs and its 72-seat patio is perhaps the neighborhood’s busiest. Despite big-box sheen, the bar area’s tri-wheel facilitates classic dive-bar gambling.


Time Tested

Acme Comedy Co. The stand-up club nabs national talent and hosts open-mics for comics still cutting their teeth. (708 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-338-6393,

Bev’s Wine Bar: The vino parlor has logged nearly two decades in the North Loop. (250 3rd Av. N., #100, Mpls., 612-337-0102,

Black Sheep Pizza: The coal-fired pie peddlers were doing gourmet pizza before it was all the rage. (600 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-342-2625,

Bunker’s Music Bar and Grill: Everything from dad-delighting, classic rock cover acts to jam bands grace the blue-collar bar’s stage. (761 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-338-8188,

Club Jäger: Mature dance bar for post-C.C. Club hipsters and home of heralded DJ night Transmission. (923 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-332-2686,

Cuzzy’s: Beloved, gentrification-defying dive bar, known for its dollar-bill-adorned walls. (507 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-339-6211,

Darby’s Pub & Grill: Pre-game beers are de rigueur at this Target Field-adjacent sports bar with a primo patio. (315 5th Av. N., Mpls., 612-746-5064,

Déjà Vu: Still-pimpled 18-year-olds’ preferred venue for Intro to Lap Dance. (315 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-333-6333,

J.D. Hoyt’s Supper Club: Vintage supper club, both classy and casual enough for intergenerational outings. (301 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-338-1560,

Jetset: Sparse but stylish gay club. All orientations are welcome on the small dance floor. (115 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-339-3933,

The Loop: Popular party spot for revelers who have slightly (slightly) outgrown 1st Avenue. (606 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-340-0010,

Monte Carlo: Get Dean Martin-dapper and grab a martini at this “Mad Men”-evoking institution. (219 3rd Av. N., Mpls., 612-333-5900,

Origami: Origami was rocking authentic raw fish before every fusion joint in town. (30 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-333-8340,

Runyon’s: Old-school, no-frills bar with cold beer and claim-to-fame chicken wings. (107 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-332-7158)

Stadium Pizza: Divey pizzeria and Packer/Badger bar coaxes PedalPubbers with ride-related deals. (207 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-334-3000,

Sapor Cafe and Bar: Longtime sneaky happy-hour spot, known for exceptional service. (428 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-375-1971,

Toast Wine Bar and Cafe: Cozy little wino wonderland tucked at the foot of the Heritage Landing Building. (415 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-333-4305,