Gone are the massive fish bowl community cocktails. Gone are the obnoxious beer banners. Sgt. Preston's is a mere afterthought after the debut this week of Republic, a new bar headed up by Matty O'Reilly (of Aster Cafe and 318 Cafe).

The new bar on the block was quite the scene last night. I counted several curious neighbors in attendance, including the owners of beer-friendly spots such as the Town Hall Brewery, Acadia and the Nomad).

O'Reilly and business partner Rick Guntzel have replaced the Seven Corners staple with a bar dedicated to great beer and above-grade bar food. Check out the impressive tap list here. The 32 draft lines feature acclaimed brews from the Midwest, Belgium and Germany. I particularly enjoyed a Wisonsin beer called Matacabras from Dave's Brewfarm (a green brewery that operates off wind power).

The food menu offers appetizers, salads, burgers and entrees you might not expect on campus. One burger is made with garlic confit, another features a red wine reduction and brie. The apps include mussels and ricotta fritters. Check out the full menu here.

The duo haven't really added much, instead they've simply stripped away all the terrible banners and beer signs associated with a college bar. Hiding underneath, it appears, was an old school bar with beautiful stained glass and charming wood decor. Kinda like unwrapping a present.

Info: 221 Cedar Av. S., Mpls. 612-338-6146. 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily.www.republicmn.com

(Photo by Tom Horgen)

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