Even before it started, the Twins’ season was sullied by performance enhancing drugs. The only way to wash the bad taste out of fans’ mouths, other than a Byron Buxton call-up, is with another form of PEDs — pregame enhancing drinks.
When the home team is five years removed from a winning season, going out before the game can be the top play of the night. Catching a buzz at a nearby bar makes those inning-ending double plays slightly less depressing.
In anticipation of Monday’s home opener, we’ve compiled an All-Star nine of pregame destinations so you can get a quality start to your game-day experience.
One and done
O’Donovan’s Pub: Sometimes it’s tough to get off work and make it on time for the first pitch. But this pub is so close to Target Field that even Twins big man Kennys Vargas could run there from O’D’s faster than you can google stanozolol. It’s the suicide squeeze of pregame drinking. 700 1st Av. N.
Overpaid a scalper
Murray’s Steakhouse: Did you splurge on tickets to the sold-out opener? Make it up by reducing your bar tab, but not your consumption rate, at this classic Minneapolis steak joint. Slide into Murray’s modernized Draper-esque bar and score a steak burger, fries and domestic bottle of beer for $11 before home games. Turn this triple-play special until the first pitch only in the bar area. 26 S. 6th St.
Weaning Bert off bad beer
Mackenzie Pub: Bert Blyleven’s Coors Light affinity is well-documented. We love ya, Bert, but for a Hall of Famer that’s bush league. Surely the TV commentator (or any light lager drinker) can discover better beer at Mackenzie. Once one of downtown Minneapolis’ few bars with a commendable tap list, this spot features an IPA- and stout-heavy 24 taps. 918 Hennepin Av. S.
112 Eatery: While Target Field has plenty of big-league food options, none matches the return on investment at Isaac Becker’s cozy fine-dining bastion, which makes the Metropolitan Club feel like a cafeteria. Even the common-man burger is treated like a king, topped with brie and sandwiched in an English muffin. It’s a steal at $10. 112 N. 3rd St.
Waiting out a rain delay
Depot Tavern: When weather puts the game in jeopardy, take shelter at First Avenue’s rock ’n’ roll answer to a sports bar. Without abandoning your Diamond Dog, watch through the Depot’s transparent garage doors for your chance to dash to Target Field. Even if the game gets called, you’re only a few beers from showtime in the adjacent music venue. 17 N. 7th St.
Cowboy Jack’s: Sure, we have a big fancy outdoor stadium. But sun-starved Minnesotans don’t always want to wait until game time to sit outside. Kick off your boots (figuratively, of course) on this urban cowboy bar’s rooftop patio. It’s only steps from the stadium, but with $3 domestic taps lasting till after the game, we won’t blame you for running late. 126 N. 5th St.
Luring Glen Perkins out of the bullpen
Fulton Brewery: It’s not like the Twins All-Star closer sees action in the first two hours of the game. Who’s to say the avid homebrewer couldn’t sneak a quick beer at Fulton’s nearby taproom? Make it an easy-sipping Mpls Mild, whose alcohol-by-volume is nearly as low as Perkins’ 2014 ERA. 414 6th Av. N.
Butcher & the Boar: “Five-tool” players are those rare individuals with exceptional skills in every facet of the game. Well, Butcher & the Boar is an elite five-tool bar with All-Star caliber food, beer, whiskey, specials and a patio. Pore over extensive brew and bourbon lists in the meat temple’s alluring beer garden, or economically touch ’em all with a $12 beer/brat/shot combo. 1121 Hennepin Av. S.
Gardy’s choice (probably)
J.D. Hoyt’s: With Ron Gardenhire no longer in the dugout, we can only assume he’ll be whooping it up before Twins home games. This supper club-meets-sports bar is a longtime favorite among gray-bearded pro athletes, and we’re betting Gardy appreciates a big slab of meat with a cold beer. The Cajun pork chop purveyors (a full order feeds two) make lemonade from lemons with a quaint patio overlooking an exit ramp. 301 Washington Av. N.
Michael Rietmulder, of Minneapolis, writes about nightlife.