Dive Bar Date

This weekend we had a bit of a dilemma.  We knew we would be going on a double date with Chaz + Katie tonight, but we didn’t want to spend Friday night  sitting at home.  I had to wake up early this morning for my long run and we didn’t want to spend a ton of money since we would be going out tonight.

Our Final Plan?  Three words: Dive Bar Date.

And before you ask, yes we will absolutely be doing this again and hopefully sooner than later.

Stop 1: Grumpy’s 

I LOVE NE Minneapolis 11/10, but the hipsters make it hard to deal.  Not two blocks away from this bar, I saw a man wearing skinny white jeans, white shoes and a straw fedora.  It was a low moment where things went from being hip to being totally contrived.

Grumpy’s?  Is just not that kind of place.

Rather, we took our seats with a healthy handful of members from the Minneapolis biking community (think road, not cycle) and sipped our craft brews in peace.

I know.  I KNOW.  I slay myself.  Dive bars and craft brews don’t belong in the same sentence.

A Two Brothers Ebelweiss for him, a Surly Coffee Bender for her.

I was really enjoying the tiki-cans they had dangling above the bar. Completely new design concept to me.

Apparently on Thursday night they offer 2-for-1 glasses of wine and “spin vinyl” that fellow patrons bring in.  Since this was never on ANY list of life experiences that I was hoping to have, it has officially been moved to the top.

Stop 2: El Taco Riendo

Fact: I have been craving tacos, Mexican food and spicy things in the most profound way since we came back from Europe.  So I may or may not have spent a fair amount of time at work on Friday cruising Yelp to compile a list of such places in the Twin Cities.

All signs pointed to this for our first foray into the Taco Shop scene, so we did as we were told and hit it.

Minneapolis readers, run, don’t walk.

They have refried black beans.

And, in case you didn’t catch that one the first time…


I don’t know what kind of dark art you have to practice in order to offer those at your restaurant, but eating them?  Was basically a spiritual experience.

They had a ton of specials. So we didn't order any of them.

Clockwise from Left: Barbacoa and Tinga Tacos, Nachos with Carne Asada, and a Chimichanga (yes, seriously, that's what that smothered burrito is) with Pollo Verde. Our total bill including tip? $24.

The only chimichanga I’ve ever had was a footlong, inch thick monstrosity from Rock Bottom Brewery, so this chimichanga?  Was a revelation.  Cheesy, crunchy, creamy, and stuffed with all of the pollo verde you could ever hope for…and then some.

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was thisclose to making Marcus go back there with me for lunch today.

Stop 3: Jimmy’s

Since the taco shop didn’t have a liquor license, we needed to source a post-dinner drink.  And a bit of post-dinner people watching.  You know, more is more and all of that.

I mean, there are dives…

…and then there are DIVES.

Welcome, Jimmy’s!

Picks and sticks.

When I saw a sign on the wall peddling Beer Sticks for $1.25, I knew I HAD to have one. What we passed up: The $3 shrimp cocktail, the $1 microwave popcorn and the $6 TV dinner. It was amazing.

Truth: I don’t even know what Old Style is, but the tap choices were that and Michelob, so I figured that it was worth a shot.  Our commentary?  That it was extremely…drinkable.

Our grand total for the night?  $45.  Not too bad, but I like to think that it’s a goal to beat for next time. 😉

Do you have a favorite dive bar/hole in the wall that you’re a “regular” at?

Where’s your favorite spot to go for delicious, cheap, authentic eats?


11 responses to “Dive Bar Date

  1. My favorite spot for delicious, cheap authentic eats is Sue’s.

  2. I’m not a regular yet, but Dusty’s in NE is the quentissential local dive bar.

  3. Funnily, I think most Mexican places look shady from outside but are chock full of people and have great food. We have a couple of places like that in our neck of the woods.

  4. That taco place looks amazing–you must give us the address!

  5. What a fun night! Hope you had a good run after all that!

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  7. I love hole in the walls! They always manage to have the BEST food and ambiance. I’m not a regular anywhere, but I did stumble upon this random Korean restaurant that has grandma’s in the back cooking. Needless to say, the food is out of this world.

  8. Ok, first did that say lemon cheese and why didn’t you try it?

    2nd, chimichangas are a religious experience when done correctly. Tying into that, my two favorite dive places are Pablos Mexican in Shakopee and Wampachs diner, also in Shakopee.

    I love dive bars in MA, but around here I usually end up feeling like it’s cheaper and easier to just drink at home.

  9. I want to live your weekend. Hubby & I excelled at the dive bar date pre-kids. Now we have a great little dive just a short (2 mile) walk away in which we can get phenom onion rings and sip a tall draft beer while gazing at the Bay. Give the boys a stack of quarters for the juke box, and it’s almost like a date.

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