St. Paul, Minnesota is a town that knows how to get its drink on. In fact, former Governor, Jesse Ventura, once criticized drunken Irishmen for designing the city’s streets so erratically.
While St. Paul is the smaller of the Twin Cities, it certainly has more establishments per capita than Minneapolis. With the return of the NHL in 2000, St. Paul has become a much bigger player in the sports bar business. Here’s a look at some of the best sports bars in and around St. Paul.
The Original Gabe’s by the Park
Gabe’s is back in St. Paul after a few years hiatus. This sports bar has been hosting fans of all of Minnesota and Wisconsin’s teams for 30 years. Gabe’s features more than 25 televisions and free shuttles to and from St. Paul Saints games at nearby Midway Stadium.
Gabe’s features a $2.99 Black Angus burger and a $2.99 beer of the month. In addition they feature their famous Michelbob’s Ribs, the same ones served at Target Field.
Joe and Stan’s
A few miles from downtown lies one of the most casual and non-pretentious sports bars in the world. Despite its laid back style, Joe and Stan’s is the type of sports bar, real sports fans love to call their home away from home. This family-friendly bar and restaurant features a dozen televisions and something for everyone on their extensive menu. When there is a big game it’s a good idea to get there early, the place is uber-popular among locals.
Since 1982 Patrick McGovern’s on West Seventh Street, just a block from the Xcel Energy Center, has been a great place to meet friends and watch a game. With more than 20 televisions and two levels to accommodate game day crowds, McGovern’s is a friendly place for co-eds and families alike.
What sets McGovern’s apart from other sports bars is their food. Each day, the kitchen staff roasts 10 whole turkeys for their famous hot turkey sandwiches. Calling what they serve you a sandwich is a bit of a misnomer. They put a piece of bread on a plate and pile on tons of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. For those with a lighter appetite, McGovern’s also has some great salads and sandwiches that are just as good as the bar’s calling card turkey sandwich.
B-52 Burgers and Brew
In nearby Inver Grove Heights, B-52s is well worth the seven minute drive from downtown. This spacious bar and grill has more than 15 televisions including four 75 inch monsters on the same wall that make watching multiple games as easy as drinking one of their signature bloody marys.
Everyday of the week, B-52s has something going on. From ladies night on Thursdays to its very popular free bacon Tuesdays, where bacon is given to guests like some bars give out popcorn or peanuts, B-52s mixes sports with fun in grand style.
Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub
Owned by former Minnesota North Star and current Wild broadcaster, Tom Reid, this establishment is just two blocks from the Xcel Energy Center. Hockey fans will find their experience at Tom Reid’s to be like a museum that serves alcohol. There is a huge collection of NHL artifacts on display throughout the establishment. If you aren’t a puck head, don’t worry. Reid’s features all of the televised sports packages. Keep an eye out for many current and former athletes who like to stop at Reid’s on occasion.
A St. Paul Tradition for 43 years, Mancini’s mixes old school supper club with bustling sports bar. The restaurant features huge pieces of char-grilled steak that will intimidate even the biggest carnivore and the dark lounge area is perfect for watching a game on one of 20 televisions or having a little quiet time with a special someone.
Mancini’s is another favorite of Minnesota athletes. In fact, the restaurant itself has its very own sports museum and hall of fame.
Blair Reynolds is a freelance writer, avid sports fan, and a native of the Twin Cities.