Monday, April 4, 2011

Loring Kitchen & Bar - Loring Park Minneapolis

Time/Days:  2pm - 6pm/Sunday-Friday
Drink Specials:  $3 Taps, Domestic Bottles, Rails, House Wine, Sangria; $6 Rail Martinis
Food Specials:  $6 Pizzas, $3 Select Apps, $10 Select Apps/Sandwiches

Considering the fact that LKB is less than a 5 minute walk from our apartment, their happy hour tends to be a favorite spot of ours.  However, there are more reasons for our frequent visits than the short walk home of course!

Since we moved to the Twin Cities this past fall I've seen LKB change their Happy Hour menu a few times, but each change has brought improvements rather than price increases.  A few of my favorites that have made it through the transitions have been the Buffalo Chicken Pizza (which I just had for the first time last week), the Fried Calamari with the sweet chili cream, and the Zucchini Fries.  You also can't go wrong with the Loring Buns...their Angus sliders with caramelized onions, bacon, and homemade tomato chutney.  Tara and I have stopped by many times for an early dinner, ordered 2 or 3 items and definitely walked away full.

The drink selection is also impressive and offers something for everyone.  I tend to do beer when I'm at a happy hour so I am usually very satisfied with their tap selection.  The Bell's Two Hearted is a go to for me, but they also have a rotating microbrew on tap...I'm hoping that Bell's Oberon makes its way in for the summer.  My only complaint goes back to the menu change...where I believe they lowered the price for taps from $4 to $3, but removed one of my favorites, Rogue Dead Guy from the Happy Hour menu.  Oh well, I will live!

Kudos:  Wide variety of drinks, really good pizzas for 6 bucks, happy hour served everywhere in the restaurant so there is no problem getting a seat, great in the summer
Criticisms:  Only goes until 6pm, some of the apps such as the Calamari are a bit pricey $10 (but worth it), bring back Dead Guy Ale!

Masa - Downtown Minneapolis

Time/Days:  4pm - 6pm/Monday-Friday
Drink Specials:  1/2 Off Margaritas, Tap Beer, Wine by the Glass
Food Specials:  $5 Guacamole, $2.50 Tacos, $5 Assorted Others

I hate to start off this blog with a glowing review, but Masa's happy hour is the real deal.  I feel as though it flies under the radar a bit with the Local, Barrio, and Brit's all right around the corner.  But be assured, the specials here put all of its neighbors to shame. 

Being a big fan of guacamole and margaritas I can be quite the harsh critic when it comes to Mexican food.  Living up to these standards is a difficult task, but Masa passes the test.  In fact, their guacamole is on par if not better than the best I have ever had (i.e. the classic guac at El Vez in Philadelphia).  The margaritas get similar marks.  How can you go wrong with a $5 margarita that uses 1800 and Gran Gala??  $5 at most places gets you rail (hangover inducing) tequila, mixed with sugar loaded tequila mix...not at Masa!  Personally I recommend the Masa Margarita, which is their classic, but I've also heard good things about the flavored margaritas that come in Blood Orange, Mango, or Strawberry.

My only regret is that I haven't had the chance to try the $2.50 tacos or the chile rellenos....but there is always next time!

Kudos:  Some of the best guac I've ever tasted, incredible and cheap margaritas, great prices!
Criticisms:  Only goes until 6pm, bar area is small so it can get crowded between 5pm-6pm

Welcome to all of our fellow happy hour heroes!

Don't let yourself be fooled by flashy signs advertising 1/2 off rail drinks or $.50 chicken wings that only last until 5:30!  Great Happy Hours are out there!  The Twin Cities have more of these hidden gems than you could ever just need to know where to look and how to find.

In our journey to seek out the best-of-the-best in the Twin Cities, my wife Tara and I have decided to combine some of our favorite hobbies in order to become the ultimate happy hour hunting duo.  I'm a self-proclaimed foodie and beer snob...she's one of the best discount shoppers and coupon clippers on the planet.   What could be better than using what we love to seek out Awesome Food...Great Drinks...and Good Times...All Without Breaking the Bank!

From here on out we will be charting our 5'oclock food and beer filled adventures throughout the cities.  We'll let you know where to go, what time to be there, and what we thought of our experience.  I hope you'll join us! 

Feel free to email with any favorite happy hour spots of your own!