Thursday, July 28, 2011

Favourite Places, Twin Cities : The Republic, Minneapolis

The former Sgt. Preston's spot in Minneapolis' Seven Corners area has been cleaned up and given a make-over. No longer college frat bar, it's been transformed into a bit of a gastro-pub with a great tap list (32 taps) and even better food. I must admit that it might seem a bit of a stretch to include a bar barely open a couple of months in my favourite places but having been there no fewer than 10 times (approx. 8 more than when it was Sgt. Preston's) I think I can speak from a position of authority. I like this place. A lot.

Best of all it has a great Happy Hour, Daily  4-6pm (yes that really means daily as in seven days a week not the lame M-F routine) - $3 domestic taps (in this case this truly means domestic, as in all non-European beers are included, not just Summit, Schell's and the like). HH also features house wine and rail drinks for $3 and food specials (fries - which are awesome by the way - chips and gluacomole are $3 each while burgers and fish tacos are both $5).
Happy Hour Menu 4-6pm Daily

As mentioned, Republic has a great tap selection with 32 beers offered on tap. Highlights include Fulton Worthy Adversary ($5), Two Brother's Cane and Ebel ($5), Left Hand Milk Stout ($5) along with no less than four Surly brews. They also have a strong Belgian selection, Kwak, Saison Du Pont, Tripel Karmeliet and Duvel all make an appearance, all at  a reasonable price ($6). Another favourite is Matacabras by Dave's Brew Farm (when I was last in the price had went up from $5 to $6 a pint but not extortionary by any means). Another nice feature is they also have a "beer of the day" (which they normally announce on twitter) on a recent lunch visit it was Founder's Dirty Bastard, at 8.6%ABV I showed admirable restraint I thought by limiting myself to just the 2 pints! Even without happy hour or daily special the beer is very affordable, I counted about  a half dozen selections at $4 a pint (including Bell's Two Hearted), certainly some of the best prices in town. In case you don't believe me here's t beer list :

Food menu is compact with an emphasis on quality and affordability, sandwiches, burgers (five are offered featuring local grass-fed beef or wild acres turkey), everything on the menu is under $10 bucks, even the entrees, with the exception of the hanger steak ($17). One slight annoyance is that burgers and sandwiches do not come with fries which means if you want them it will cost you an extra $4. Admittedly they are delicious and are a huge portion, perfect for sharing but a bit much for a single diner. Some of the items we have tried on the menu, along with ratings :
Sandwich - Grilled cheese, cheddar, chevre, tomato on whole wheat ($7) Fantastic!
Sandwich - Rosemary chicken breast, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, toasted whole wheat ($8) Very Good
Burger - Aged cheddar, bacon, carmelized onion ($8) Fantastic!

Salad - Hanger Steak, bibb lettuce, bleu cheese, hard bolied egg ($9) Good
Entree - Local sausages, roasted tomatoes, mustard ($9) Disappointing

Another great feature of the place is how friendly the staff and owners are, on my most recent visit co-owner Rick recognized me and took the time to shake hands and chat for a few minutes. A nice touch. The other co-owner, Matty (O'Reilly, owns the Aster and 318 Cafe) is almost as friendly as well (!). The place has a great patio, spacious, almost rivalling Town Hall Brewery across the street.

A captivating audience
More info :

Republic at Seven Corners
221 Cedar Avenue South
Minneapolis MN 55454
Hours : 11am - 1am Daily
Happy Hour : 4-6 Daily

Website :

Parking : Is a nightmare! With light-rail construction in full swing, many of the nearby parking meters (enforced until 6pm daily) are covered. I recommend parking in the pay lot behind the Jewel of India ($3 except for special events) or look for a meter further afield. Parking is also avalable in the ramp adjacent to the Holiday Inn but use only as a last resort, rates are ridiculously expensive (one recent 2 1/2 hour stay after 5pm on a weekday cost me $13)!