Hit a sports bar
Many of the bars within 2 miles of U.S. Bank Stadium are booked with private parties the night of the Super Bowl, but a handful in the vicinity are staying open for thirsty folks who don’t have tickets for the game, but want to be close to the action. (Call for hours, and to make sure there’s room.) Among those blaring the game on big-screen TVs and pouring cold beer:
Brit’s Pub: Typically, this English bar is known as a gathering place for the other kind of football (you know, soccer), but as it turns out, cold pints and a sporty atmosphere translate well to pigskin, too. britspub.com
Bunny’s Bar & Grill Northeast: With 15 HD TVs and tokens for drink deals given out after every Vikings touchdown, this offshoot of the St. Louis Park original doesn’t get much more festive. bunnysbarandgrill.com/ne-mpls
Grumpy’s Bar and Grill: One of downtown’s popular dive bars boasts full service, a couple of pool tables (perfect for halftime) and a jukebox ideal for victory tunes. grumpys-bar.com
Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar: A killer happy hour (beers as cheap as $3.50) from 3-7 p.m., and eats ranging from pork egg rolls to Szechuan ribs to “tot chos” (nachos made with Tater Tots), make for a fan’s best friend. macsindustrial.com
Nomad World Pub: Fire pits, TV screens indoors and out, food-truck cuisine and drink specials make this sprawling Cedar-Riverside pub tough to beat for game watching. nomadpub.com
Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room: Fifty beers on tap? Yep, that’s correct: Styles swing from crisp pilsners to hoppy IPAs to dark-roasted stouts, so bring the crew. stanleysbarroom.com
Stray Dog: The former Bulldog location (now owned by its longtime chef) may have a different look, but there are still TVs and over-the-top burgers. What else do you need to know? straydogmpls.com
Throw a Minnesota-themed party complete with Jucy Lucy sliders and purple cocktails featuring Minnesota’s heritage spirit: aquavit. And be sure to check out our full guide with more recipes at startribune.com/taste: Your guests will be doing touchdown celebrations, no matter what’s happening on the TV.
Jucy Lucy Sliders
Makes about 20 sliders.
Note: Inspired by the Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis.
• 10 slices of American cheese
• 1 lb. ground beef
• Salt and black pepper, to season
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
• 20 small slider-style rolls
• 40 thin dill pickle slices
Unwrap the cheese and cut one slice in half to achieve 2 pieces. Fold each of those pieces three times to create a small cube of cheese. Repeat with the rest of the cheese; set aside.
In a large bowl, season the ground beef with salt and pepper and knead the beef to combine. Form the beef into 20 balls, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, then press a cube of American cheese into each and form the beef around the cheese so it’s hidden in the middle.
Pour 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron pan, and use a brush to spread it around evenly. Turn the heat on medium-high. When the pan is very hot but just before it begins to smoke, add the balls of meat, working in batches. Allow each ball to sear for 30 seconds, then smash it down with a spatula, being careful to avoid exposing the cheese. When the meat has browned on the bottom (about 2 to 3 more minutes), flip the sliders. Continue to sear for another 2 to 3 minutes, depending on whether your desired temperature is medium or well-done.
Remove the sliders and set on a plate covered with paper towels. Meanwhile, set the oven to broil. Open each roll and dip the open ends in the grease on the cast-iron pan. Plate the roll, grease-side up, on tin foil or a sheet pan; broil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the bread has browned slightly. Place a burger inside each slider roll, top with two pickles each and serve.
Makes 4 cocktails.
Note: The cinnamon syrup will keep at least a month in the refrigerator and can be made ahead of time. Adapted from a recipe at saveur.com.
• 1 c. water
• 1 c. sugar
• 3 to 4 whole cinnamon sticks
• 8 oz. (1 c.) aquavit
• 4 oz. (1/2 c.) fresh lemon juice
• 3 oz. (6 tbsp.) tawny port
• About 4 oz. (1/2 c.) red wine such as cabernet franc
• Freshly grated nutmeg, optional
To make the cinnamon syrup: Combine 1 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until combined. Add the cinnamon sticks and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and cool.
To make the cocktail: Shake the aquavit, lemon juice, port and 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cinnamon syrup in a cocktail shaker. Strain into 4 cocktail glasses and pour about an ounce (2 tablespoons) of the red wine on top of each. Garnish with grated nutmeg, if desired.
They don’t come cheap, but there are a few notable tailgate parties kicking off the big game:
The Players Tailgate: Blocks from the stadium, a specially constructed, climate-controlled tent is taking over a surface lot at 3rd Street and Portland Avenue S. It’ll be jam-packed with current and former NFL players and celebrity chefs, including Guy Fieri, from noon until kickoff. Tickets are $750. bullseyeeventgroup.com
Blitz Tailgate 52 Party: Featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet and bar with premium beer, wine and spirits and celebs of its own, this bonanza at Rock Bottom on LaSalle Avenue will be no slouch, and slightly more affordable. Tickets for the event, which goes from noon to 4 p.m., are $450. blitztailgate.com
NFL alumni official game-day brunch: Fill up on eats at Fogo de Chao , bottomless mimosas and bloody Marys, and take advantage of autograph and photo opportunities with NFL alums. Tickets for the 11 a.m.-2 p.m. event start at $500. eventbrite.com
Find a posh viewing party
There’ll be plenty of viewing parties, but an evening at MartinPatrick3 — which is hosting a Lululemon pop-up in the back room — might be the most unique. The entire store, overflowing with stylish menswear, accessories and home goods, will be open to shoppers. And in the back room, patrons will be greeted by large-screen TVs, complimentary beer and wings from the Monte Carlo, and a Lululemon heat press station for personalizing yoga gear and other fan products.
Stay home and surf the tube
Not many channels want to compete with the Super Bowl, always one of the biggest TV events of the year. But there are a few options.
The Kitten Bowl: The same concept as the Puppy Bowl, but with even more adorable players. For all the fluff and none of the hard-hitting analysis, tune into the Hallmark Channel, starting at 11 a.m.
“This Is Us”: This fall, the Golden Globe-nominated series, which follows one family through generations, will move to Thursdays. But on Super Bowl Sunday, a new episode will air — after the game.
Get Oscar-ready: The Academy Awards are coming up, so use this opportunity to check out a likely nominee or two. Then you can intelligently analyze the picks and impress all of Twitter when the awards are handed out on March 4. You can watch these movies on demand:
“The Big Sick”: This rom-com addresses a tender subject (interracial relationships) with grace and wit.
“Dunkirk”: Witness the evacuation of Allied soldiers from France after being surrounded by Germans in World War II.
“Wonder Woman”: Step aside, Batman and Superman. It’s time for a female superhero to have her moment.
Party in style
That big game isn’t the only party in town. In fact, there’s never been more to do in the Twin Cities. In February. Check out these events to feel like you’re part of the Super Bowl without stepping inside the stadium:
Gwen Stefani will be performing the night of the game at the events center at Mystic Lake Casino. Tickets start at $69 and doors open at 9 p.m. mysticlake.com/shows-and-events/gwen-stefani
Super Bowl Live offers food, live music, ice sculptures and more. Bonus: It’s totally free. mnsuperbowl.com
The City of Lakes Loppet continues with competitions and access to the wintry vendor village. loppet.org/cityoflakesloppet
The St. Paul Winter Carnival’s Ice Palace is a 70-foot-tall structure built of 4,000 blocks of ice. wintercarnival.com
The Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Ice Maze, a frozen labyrinth featuring some incredible icy artwork, will be celebrating its final day, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. new.artsmia.org
The Art Shanty Projects, a temporary community of artistic exhibits and performances set on Lake Harriet, will awe art lovers willing to endure a little windchill artshantyprojects.com
Get a seat at the table
Don’t like crowds? You’re in luck. Many of the Twin Cities’ best dining destinations probably will have tables open during the game. Haven’t been able to get into a top restaurant? The Super Bowl might be your chance. Try:
Young Joni: No one knows pizza like chef/owner Ann Kim. In her newest eatery, she manages to make the food feel comforting and elegant. Check out the back bar for a nightcap. youngjoni.com
Spoon and Stable: Considering all the national coverage Gavin Kaysen’s North Loop gem has gotten, it’s no wonder it’s perpetually full. Eat like a king in one of the city’s loveliest dining rooms. spoonandstable.com
Burch: Known for its steaks, this Lowry Hill eatery boasts much more — from excellent seafood dishes and small plates to the wood-fired-pizza nook in the basement. burchrestaurant.com
Alma: Enjoy a reasonably priced prix fixe menu ($59 for three courses) at this elegant Minneapolis staple, or venture next door to the cafe for delightful cocktails and small dishes. almampls.com
Not hungry? We’ve got other ideas
Visit an ice bar: They’re just like they sound — with bars, sometimes even seats and glasses made of ice. These three cold spots will be serving on Super Bowl Sunday. For a full list of ice bars go to startribune.com/taste.
New Bohemia and Truck Park: The side-by-side restaurants in downtown St. Paul will block off the street and turn the sidewalk area into a polar paradise. Call for hours (651-330-8267, newbohemiausa.com/saint-paul .
Freight House: An ice bar and Stillwater’s ice castles within spitting distance of each other? Winter activities, done. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. thefreighthouse.com
MartinPatrick3: A New York-style alleyway with string lights twinkling overhead and servers dressed in fur will set the mood. See website for hours. martinpatrick3.com
Lace up your skates: Try out the popular outdoor rink at the Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.
Enjoy the arts: Take in some culture with some first-rate exhibitions:
Walker Art Center is hosting “Adios Utopia,” an ode to Cuban art continues. walkerart.org
The MIA has an exhibit on “China’s Last Dynasty.” new.artsmia.org
The Science Museum of Minnesota’s Omnifest features “Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees.” smm.org
Go to the Super Bowl!
Honestly, why are you still reading this? Just go get your tickets. According to a chart on Ticketmaster.com, which the NFL officially uses, there are still seats available — if you’ve got a hefty chunk of change. Seats range from nearly $5,000 to more than $11,000. On resale sites such as Stub Hub, Vivid Seats and Ticket Club, the lowest prices dip to a cool $3,500 or so. Who needed that European vacay, anyway? Don’t forget to take lots of selfies and post them on Instagram to rub it in!