Nightlife: A guide to the best rooftops

  • Article by: TOM HORGEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 21, 2009 - 6:40 PM

Searching for a hot spot to party this summer? Just look up -- to the Twin Cities' many rooftop patios.

There was a time not long ago when the Twin Cities nightlife scene offered just a few rooftops.

Now we're a bit spoiled. Two more opened this year and a big one (the Gay 90s) will finally make its debut next year.

We have rooftop bars for almost any occasion. Resting high above the noise and smell of street traffic, these outdoor destinations are welcome options now that the weather isn't totally obnoxious.

Whatever your mood, here are the best rooftops for ...

Keeping an eye on the Twins stadium construction: Epic.

This rooftop, which sits atop the concert venue's unfinished restaurant next door (and is accessible through the club's second level) gives you a front-row seat to the work happening at Target Field. Until now the rooftop has only been open during concerts. Starting June 3, anyone can check it out during the club's happy hour -- 3-7 p.m. Wed.-Fri.

110 N. 5th St., Mpls. 612-332-3742. epicmpls.com

The best view of the Minneapolis skyline: Stella's.

The giant seafood restaurant will always be the rooftop that other Twin Cities rooftops are judged by. The place is always packed, but it's worth the wait.

1400 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-824-8862. stellasfishcafe.com

Eating on the edge: moto-i.

The new sake brewpub near the corner of Lyn-Lake just opened its rooftop three floors up. Diners can sip sake and nibble on Japanese street food while sitting at the granite countertop that wraps around the edges of the roof. It offers another stunning view of the downtown skyline.

2940 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. 612-821-6262. moto-i.com

Watching a movie: Solera and Brit's Pub.

The movie nights at Solera are already in full swing (every Tuesday and Wednesday). "Office Space" and "The Big Lebowski" are up next. At Brit's, you can wrap up in a blanket on the rooftop's freshly cut lawn and catch a flick. The movies start Aug. 3 and run every Monday. Can't wait till then? There's always Shakespeare on the Lawn, which starts June 21.

Solera: 900 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-338-0062.

solera-restaurant.com

Brit's: 1110 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. 612-332-3908. britspub.com

Seeing and being seen: Seven.

Most people who like "being seen" won't admit that they like "being seen." But if you are into that sort of thing, Seven's large rooftop is the ideal spot during the summer months. Besides pretty people, this downtown ultra lounge has loads of plush seating and two bars.

700 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-238-7777. 7mpls.com

Getting closer to heaven: Joe's Garage.

Ok, Joe's Garage won't actually get you closer to heaven. But the Loring Park restaurant does sit in the shadow of the Basilica of St. Mary. Dining here is like ordering a burger with a side of tranquility.

Joe's Garage: 1610 Harmon Place, Mpls. 612-904-1163.

joes-garage.com

Seeing a rock star: Chambers.

Views from the fifth-floor patio at this luxury hotel include a look into the so-called rock star suite where the likes of Britney Spears are rumored to have stayed. OK, the likelihood of you actually catching a glimpse of a visiting celebrity prancing around is slim. So just enjoy the sites of the illuminated theater district below.

901 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-767-6900.

chambersminneapolis.com

Getting your drink on: Drink.

Duh. This Uptown party bar has a great daily happy hour (half off all drinks, 4-7 p.m.). The rooftop might not have as great a view as its neighbor (Stella's), but does it matter when you're partying at a place called Drink?

1400 Lagoon Av., Mpls. 612-824-3333.

thorgen@startribune.com • 612-673-7909

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