It’s Friday, 4:45 pm and I am off work. Not only off work, but off work EARLY! Yes, those 15 minutes really do count. I’ve been cooped up in my office with no windows all day staring at a computer screen and missing my dog. Time to enjoy the much anticipated weekend with a little patio drink time!
I work in the west metro so it’s always a little difficult to snag a happy hour without settling for Cowboy Jacks or Toby Keith’s (boooo). Today I figure, it’s the weekend, no need to skimp. “Hey honey, meet me at Aster in 30 minutes.”
NE Minneapolis has been my home for the last five years and I can’t say a bad thing about it …except for maybe the construction on the Lowry bridge right now. I mean c’mon, hurry up already!! Anyway, the majority of my favorite bars and restaurants are all clustered right here in Nordeast so it only makes sense that I spend WAY too much money going out each week. In the words of the world’s hairiest man, carpe diem, right?
No happy hour special tonight, but the weather is beautiful and sitting along the Mississippi is worth it. I show up at 5:20 after finding a parking spot up the road — one of the biggest benefits to NE: easy parking. I walk down the cobblestone streets, some of the oldest in Minneapolis, and hear the music of an accordion player to welcome me. I accept the invitation and take a seat close by on the patio.
My husband is on his way–I think I’ll look over the drink menu to get a head start. I’ve never been a decisive person so I need ample time to make an important decision like this one.
I go for the Gin et Jus ($8), partly because I’m in the mood for gin, but mostly because I wanted to say the name outloud. “I’ll have the Gin et Jus” gin et jus, gin et jus. The waitress agrees, “Good choice”. After a minute or two of people watching, my drink arrives through the open service window.
Mmm, summer on my lips. The drink is delicious – love the bold red berry tea, but the presentation is a little poor. Pint glass with ice, pink “jus” and a lemon wedge. I’d have to say I was expecting a little jazz with the $8 drink.
I hear Al pull up on the motorcycle to join me. He takes a seat and puts in his order. He must not have the same screw-it-it’s-friday attitude that I have. “Grain Belt tall boy, please.” ($4)
The patio is one of my favorites. Very low key. And not too young either — I like to frequent places I could take my mom to. Bonus for all you minneapolites in the area: the patio is dog friendly!
If you’re looking for a quick stop before dinner downtown, an afternoon drink after walking the Stone Arch, or a quaint double date with the dog and a friend, Aster is the place. Going for happy hour? Definitely splurge for the daily signature cocktail (Jalopy & El Camino are my favorites) with the pear and proscuitto flatbread ($7).
There’s no denying that this is one of the best places to unwind after work, check out the cityview, or catch up with some of your besties.
The hostess helped me right away and didn’t make me wait for the rest of my party to show up. The waitress was knowledgable, but not pushy.
My drink was a little plain, but their food is composed nicely.
The infused liquors sounded so enticing…vodka infused with pomegranate green tea, tequila infused with african skies tea. I was expecting a little more from those delightful titles.
Value for Your Dollar
I know it was my fault for not showing up during happy hour, but even then, the daily specialty drink would have been $6.
But don’t take my word for it…
The Aster Cafe