Nightlife: Republic of beer

  • Article by: TOM HORGEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 3, 2012 - 2:55 PM

Move over Muddy Pig and Happy Gnome, Republic wants some of that beer-bar spotlight.

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Republic's bar is dedicated to crafted beer.

Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune

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Republic has thrown down the craft-beer gauntlet. The Seven Corners beer bar suddenly has charged to the front of the pack when it comes to monster draft lines. Last weekend, the pub unveiled its expanded tap list -- 56 total, plus one beer engine for cask ales.

When Republic took over the former Sgt. Preston's last May, it boasted 32 taps, a sizable and nicely curated list, with American craft and well-loved European brands. With beer sales booming at the bar, co-owner Matty O'Reilly said expansion was only logical. Very few Twin Cities bars have more than 50 draft lines dedicated to craft beer.

"We've had a commitment to craft beer since day one," O'Reilly said. "We haven't sold any macro beers on tap. Our focus is giving the little guy a chance. And people have responded to that."

Five of the new draft lines will be dedicated to "featured" beers that will rotate weekly. This week, O'Reilly still had Fulton War & Peace, Surly Smoke and Harriet Nourrice Saison on tap. Expect something new by this weekend.

O'Reilly has had more time to focus on Republic since leaving the Aster Cafe in February. He helped revitalize that riverfront music venue in 2010, but said it was time for him to move on. He characterized the split with business partner Jeff Arundel as amicable.

He has his hands full at Republic. Not counting the Zombie Pub Crawl, O'Reilly said the bar had its busiest weekend ever after debuting the new taps.

 

The Devil is due

Three months after missing its scheduled debut, the Devil's Advocate is opening in downtown Minneapolis on Monday. If you're getting antsy, you can check it out this weekend during the soft opening. The gastropub has been under construction in that sliver of real estate last occupied by the Inn. Owner Erik Forsberg has expanded the bar and its beer offerings. There are 44 tap beers, mostly boutique labels such as Fulton, Left Hand, Epic, Founders and Dave's BrewFarm. As for food, Forsberg said his kitchen will focus on ... meatballs. "These aren't your grandma's meatballs," he said. The variety will include beef, chicken, pork, salmon and falafel. The menu will present the balls in single, double or triple options (in a sandwich or solo), with plenty of mix-and-match cheese and sauce choices.

 

Too Much Love

For young downtown Minneapolis clubgoers, it's hard to imagine a time when Too Much Love wasn't at First Avenue. The game-changing dance night celebrates its fifth year Saturday with maestro Soviet Panda and guest Dustin Zahn. When the dance party debuted in 2007, it offered an alternative to the Top 40 playlists at other clubs. Five years later, it's still the go-to spot for dance rock and electro on a Saturday night.

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