As I’ve made my way around town sampling happy hours, I’ve developed an informal list in my mind of features that seem to add up to a great happy hour:
One, a strong beer selection is a must–preferably with a variety of local brews on tap.
Two, since I’m often coming straight from work, I appreciate a tasty food special.
Three, I like an atmosphere that is comfortable and relaxed, yet energetic.
Add all of those up, and you get the Republic, situated at Seven Corners in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis. Last week, Phillip and I decided to try out this excellent happy hour.
After a failed attempt at street parking, we resigned ourselves to parking in the ramp across Washington Avenue ($5 for up to two hours). We entered the bustling bar and were taken aback by how full it was already, before five on a Tuesday afternoon! I was initially worried, but we rounded the corner and realized that there were two more large rooms with seating still available. We selected a table near the window overlooking the patio. I’m already feeling wistful for summer patio seating… it’s going to be a long winter.
Our server came up to us right away, greeted us enthusiastically, and explained in detail the happy hour specials, including $3 for any American-made beer regularly priced at $6 or less. Since this encompasses about 90% of the extensive beer list, we had a LOT of options to choose from! When we had questions about various beers, our server answered knowledgeably and helpfully. Considering that there are over fifty beers on tap, I was extremely impressed that she was able to provide every answer off the top of her head.
At this point, I should tell you that I was coming in with a preconceived notion about Republic. I had read the reviews on Yelp and a disturbing number of people complained about extremely rude service. I was braced for the worst, but hoping that the cheap prices would make up for a poor experience. Republic’s management must have read the reviews and made some major changes because nothing could have been further from the truth in my experience!
We were hungry, so we took advantage of the $6 happy hour burger deal. For me: the fried egg and serrano ham burger made with Wild Acres Turkey rather than beef (regularly priced at $11). For Phillip: a beef burger with bleu cheese and bacon (regularly $9). Our server recommended we add to our order a side of french fries ($3) to share.
When our burgers arrived, we were surprised to see that they were served with simply-dressed side salads. What a pleasant surprise! We also loved the adorable baby pickles.
My turkey burger was incredible. I was not expecting the turkey meat to be seasoned so beautifully, with a dominant spiciness that lent it an almost Indian flavor. The egg was done perfectly; the yolk ran and mingled into the burger when pierced.
Phillip’s bleu cheese and bacon burger was also excellent. He ordered it medium-rare and it came out just how he wanted it: pink in the middle, but not at all raw. The bleu cheese was a nice smooth texture, neither runny nor dry; the thick bacon was wonderfully salty and savory. And check out how thick that burger is! These burgers are a steal at only $6 each!
The fries were delicious too. I preferred the garlicky aioli, while Phillip liked the taste of the homemade ketchup, although it was a tad watery in texture.
We found ourselves more than full and with food remaining, so we allowed our server to clear our plates away. But we weren’t ready to be done with the beers! We pored over the list for our next selections. Oh, the agony of choosing between too many incredible options! We turned to our server for guidance and she recommended we try the St. Louis Park brewery Steel Toe. She said that the Size 7 IPA is their most popular beer on tap, ordered more often even than the ever-so-popular Surly Furious. Say no more, I’ll take it! Phillip decided to try the Steel Toe Dissent, a dark malty ale.
We traded sips of our last beers and observed the patrons around us in the now completely-full dining room. This place is doing impressive business! The clientele we saw ranged from solitary students enjoying a burger while studying, to business people in suits having a quick drink after work, to the young and very trendy.
When our bill was brought to the table, we were pleased to note that our total before tip came to just over $30. For the gourmet burgers and craft beers, we could easily have spent $50 on that meal.
I want to go back to Republic again and again until I’ve tried every beer on the menu. Who wants to join me next time?
Each room is decorated in rich reds and exposed bricks. The lighting was initially bright, but was dimmed around six to create a moodier tone.
Actually, amazing?! Attentive, almost to a fault.
Everything looked gorgeous on the plate. The colorful salads were a great touch.
Delicious! Both the turkey and beef burgers were wonderful; I’d love to try their black bean option as well.
Value for Dollars
The quality and variety of beers offered for only $3 each has me giddy. Now that we know how large and filling the burgers are, we’ll probably split one next time for an even cheaper happy hour!
Don’t take my word for it!
221 Cedar Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Happy Hour Daily from 4-6pm and 10pm – Midnight.