On a recent weeknight, Phillip and I found ourselves with nothing much going on; he suggested he pick me up from work and we go straight to a happy hour. For my husband and I, “go to a happy hour” is usually code for either Aster Cafe, Wilde Roast, or basically any of the bars that are within a mile radius of our home. Because I knew I’d be starting to write happy hour posts for the blog, I used that leverage to force us well out of our comfort zone. UPTOWN: the land of rush-hour traffic jams and zero free parking, seemingly worlds away from our beloved Nordeast. But Herkimer Pub and Brewery looked to have a worthwhile happy hour, so with a couple of deep breaths, we were off.
Phil picked me up outside my downtown Minneapolis office at 5:20; it took us nearly half an hour to travel the three or so miles to uptown and circle until we found a parking spot. Ugh. We were both immediately crabby, knowing that our intended happy hour at Herkimer would end at 6pm.
We walked in and followed the directions on the sign: Do It Yourself Seating. Time of arrival: 5:48pm.
Within 10 seconds of grabbing seats at a booth, our server welcomed us, gave us menus, and informed us of the happy hour specials: 2-for-1 beers, wells, and wines, and a variety of cheap apps.
Another minute or two later, she came back for our beer orders. We had decided on the Eva Belgian Saison and the Starlight Weiss. She knowledgeably helped us narrow down our decision of which happy hour apps to order. Within seven minutes of walking in the door, 5:55pm, we had four beers in front of us (two for ones, huzzah!), and had placed our order for food. We were extremely impressed at having been served so quickly to ensure we got what we wanted before the end of happy hour. Our stormcloud moods were considerably lifted.
Herkimer is a German-style brew pub, with typically four in-house brew options on tap. We were really happy with both of the beers we shared. The Eva was my favorite, “spicy and a big mouth feel,” according to the description on the menu. I live for a good complex, hoppy beer with a full flavor. Phil’s choice was the Starlite Weiss, which was an unusual combination of the typically full-flavored Dunkelweiss and a kolsch-style lighter flavor. The dark-colored brew was surprisingly clean and smooth — drinkable and slightly sweet.
Our foods came out quickly, and were brought to the table as they were ready rather than all at once. First up were the Stuffed Jalapeños ($3). Creamy and spicy, the jalapeños were fresh and crisp. A promising start!
Next on the table: two orders of Chicken Wings ($1 for two wings per order), in Buffalo and Szechuan sauces. Nothing too special about the wings or the sauces, although they were presented nicely on beds of lettuce and with celery sticks and bleu cheese. For the price, we were impressed!
Along with our wings, we received our order of Sweet Potato Fries with a side of Chipotle Ketchup ($3 for a generous portion). No surprise these have been named Minnesota Monthly’s “Best Fries;” these crispy, sweet fries were amazing. We could not stop eating them, even after we felt completely full.
The show-stopper for both of us was the Warm Pub Pretzels ($3). We did not expect the huge portion of four large, fist-sized pretzels for the low price, not to mention that they were warm, chewy, soft, salty and just all around amazing. The absolute best part, for me, was the spicy mixed pepper cheese sauce; Phillip pretty much drank the jalapeño honey mustard.
Since all of our food had come out so quickly, we found ourselves with plenty of beer still in our glasses once we had stuffed our bellies. We lingered a little while in our booth, chatting and enjoying our beers. The stress of the workday and of getting ourselves to Uptown was completely forgotten, our cranky former attitudes were a distant memory. When our bill arrived, we were in even better moods. $23 for the feast and the plentiful craft beers we had just enjoyed? Best. Happy Hour. Ever.
Casual and comfortable. A nice large bar in the middle of the room, surrounded by booths and tables.
Awesome. Our server, Shevaun, was incredibly helpful and efficient, and we appreciated that she was quick to get us in on the happy hour even though we had been cutting it close. Food was served hot and fresh, and plates were cleared as quickly as they were emptied.
A step up from your typical bar food, but still casual.
Shockingly tasty, much more than we expected from the $1-$3 price range!
Value for Dollars
Just… so good.
But don’t take my word for it!
The Herkimer Pub and Brewery
Happy hour everyday 3-6pm, 2-4-1 beers, wells, and wines
Sunday through Thursday 10pm-1am, $3.50 beers, wells, and wines
2922 Lyndale Ave South
Minneapolis, MN 55408