Minneapolis, Minnesota – February 2001

The West Bank
The west bank of Minneapolis is a curious place. Being part of University territory, this is apparently where their cultural diversity experiments take place. Cedar Avenue hosts an amazing amount of different types of Bars, Restaurants, and mini markets.

As if to ease your transition into this melting pot, the west end opens the door with Midwest Mountaineering (309 Cedar Avenue, 612-339-3477). An outdoors store with everything you could ask for and then some. They will outfit you wherever you are going, they’ll even canoe you. Being the only outfitter for miles and miles, their prices can be equally unique. The secret to this place is upstairs. Thrifty Outfitters (612-339-6290) occupies the upper floor of Midwest Mountaineering and sells last year’s goods for great deals.

Across the street is the Red Sea (316 Cedar Ave, 612-333-1644). Probably has the widest variety of music – but weeks may go by of unrecognizable names. There is usually a $5 door charge after 9:00pm and like the sign says, “No check or plastic, only dead presidents”.

If you are of the hippie persuasion, Global Village (406 Cedar Ave) is your place. It’s kinda like Midwest Mountaineering but it outfits hippies.

Palmer’s (500 Cedar Avenue, 612-333-7625) is just down the street and is not by any means a tourist attraction, or for the easily spooked or duped. This place is hard core, rivaling only a few other bars in Minneapolis. The clientele and history of this place is something better not known. The bartender once told me not to leave my drink unattended. There is a small security television over one side of the bar that shows what’s happening out front. Better than cable. Go with someone you trust and believe nothing you hear.

On the lighter side and full of people who take themselves way to seriously, is the “punk” bar Triple Rock (629 Cedar Ave, 612-333-7399). This used to by called Blondie’s, and was filled with mullet wearing heavy metal dudes. I think everyone just cut their hair, and their clothes. Now, as Triple Rock, they serve 40oz Malt liquor bottles in Champagne buckets. The jukebox rocks and the bartenders are more than generous. There is a small bar area with a pool table and two pinball machines. A medium sized room containing tables towards the back expands in the summer with outdoor seating. A fun place. Free parking available.

One thing I should mention however, is because of the wide variety of people this area hosts, there are also a wide variety of criminals lurking about. Don’t go alone.

For Caffeine Fiends….
For those of you who prefer caffeine as a vice, Minneapolis is loaded with coffee shops. Espresso and his counter parts are everywhere.

Muddy Waters (2401 Lyndale Ave, 612-872-2232) was opened in 1989 and introduced fluffy coffee such as mochas, espresso shots, lattes, and Italian syrups to a whole new crowd. Suddenly slackers in Minneapolis could enjoy the same heart pounding buzz as their pinky lifting counterparts in the upscale neighborhood of Kenwood.

Here in the starkly lit confines of Muddy Waters, people sip coffee out of oversized mugs, start businesses, make dates, bum smokes, and plot world takeovers. They are probably the only coffee bar in Minneapolis that would refuse to serve the Beastie Boys. But that’s another story. The best part about Muddy’s is the fact that know one cares who you are, or are not.

The other notable coffee shop of Lyndale is Bob’s Java Hut (2651 Lyndale Ave, 612-871-4485). If you speak motorcycle, this is it. There is a special spot in front of Bob’s for motorcycle parking. And amazingly this prompts customers outside to ogle and show off. Probably the most unique feature of this coffee shop is the clear garage door front that remains open most of the summer. Have your poses ready.