The other Friday night, we decided to mix business with pleasure. Fellow Minneapolites Sam and Elizabeth met up with me in downtown Minneapolis after work to check out the happy hour at The Oceanaire. We had grand ideas of discussing the nitty-gritty work of running the blog, but instead we mostly just got to enjoy a lovely summer evening in the city with great food, great friends, and some refreshing drinks.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room, recently moved to a new location in downtown, markets itself toward the upscale business diner. That’s cool, but you know what is BETTER? A cheap, delicious happy hour. Which fortunately, The Oceanaire also has to offer. The happy hour menu is simple: beers on tap $3, wines $4, fancy drinks $5, and fancier drinks $6. Happy hour food options range from $5-$8. (UPDATE, 8/22/12: The Oceanaire recently raised their happy hour prices. Beers are now $4, wines $5, and drinks $6-$7. Still a decent deal, but not quite as much of a steal. You can view the current happy hour menu here.)
Elizabeth got the Perfect Bacardi Mojito, Sam got the Ginger Royal, and I chose the Oceanaire Mojito Martini (each $5). Both Liz and I thought our “mojito” style drinks were good (–and strong!) but a little on the sweet side for our tastes. Sam’s Ginger Royal (Crown Royal, sour mix, and Ginger Beer) was delicious and refreshing, perfectly gingery.
For food, appetizers on the happy hour menu range from $5 – $8 and the portions were generous. We ended up choosing the Fish and Chips ($5, left), the Steamed Mussels ($6, middle), and the Ahi Tuna Bites ($8, right)
Our waitress had warned us that the Tuna Bites came on buns like sliders, so we weren’t surprised, but we did all opt to remove the top buns in order to really taste the tuna, cucumber, wasabi, and sriracha sauces. The fish and chips were, as we expected, really quality fish; we appreciated that the fish didn’t taste oily and deep-fried at all. The housemade tartar sauce was a stand-out as well, tangy and fresh-flavored. The mussels, soaked in a white wine and butter bath and served with a large, thick cut toasted slice of bread, were a texture challenge for me, but I’m a baby about foods that remind me of snot (just saying!). Elizabeth and Sam both said they were tasty and we all especially savored the thick toast dipped in the sauce.
I’d also like to point out that, while we opted to enjoy the beautiful summer evening out on the large street-side patio, the inside atmosphere of Oceanaire is really quite swanky. Observe, the photo I snapped on my way back from the bathroom — empty at the moment, as happy hour is only served on the patio and in the bar area.
We stuffed ourselves silly with apps and ordered a second round of drinks and just generally had a lovely Friday afternoon together, and then our waitress presented us with our joint bill of $51. Not too shabby! The Oceanaire happy hour is not to be missed!
Both the patio and the inside dining room exude a great cosmopolitan atmosphere, although the traffic along 6th street is a bit loud –but what else do you expect when dining outside and downtown?
Quick and friendly service, very attentive to filling our glasses and removing empty dishes.
Our drinks and food came in attractive glasses and serving dishes, with garnishes of lemons, limes, and parsley where appropriate.
We loved almost everything!
Value for Dollars
For $17 apiece before tip, we each got two delicious drinks and our fill of well-made, generously-portioned, and reasonably-priced apps. For downtown on a Friday night, we felt like we got a steal of a deal.
But don’t take my word for it:
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
Happy hour from 4-7pm in the bar area and on the patio
(Oceanaire Happy Hour Menu)