Happy hours for parents

Your schedule is clear. The sitter is booked. You finally have a night set aside for a date. Yay for couple time! 

But who has the energy to come up with a cool place to go that won’t cost an arm and leg? We do!

Don’t pressure yourself to find the perfect restaurant. Instead opt for a happy hour!  

Skip the table and sit at the bar — or seriously just sit side by side. Rub shoulders. Hold hands. Put your arm around your person. Flirt. Reconnect. Touch. 

This is date night!


Borough burger

GOURMET BURGER

Borough

Enjoy the best burger in the Twin Cities (for real) with the best fries and seriously good cocktails in the bright, airy and urban Borough bar. 

When: 4–6 p.m. Monday–Friday

Where: North Loop, Minneapolis

Drinks: Half-off select beers, $6 wines, $7 tap cocktails

Food: Get the $10 burger — a triple-threat blend of ribeye, brisket and chuck topped with white American cheese — perfect for sharing when you add the hand-cut fries ($3) and a generous plate of gorgeous mixed greens ($4). 

Afterward: Pop into the basement (via a secret interior staircase) for a nightcap in the beloved Parlour Bar, recognized by Playboy (ahem) as one of America’s best bars.


Jax meal

SUPPER CLUB VIBES

Jax Cafe

Score a spot in the lush courtyard or at the inviting indoor bar and surround yourself with a groovy supper-club vibe.

When: 3:30–6 p.m. daily; 8:30 p.m.–close

Where: Northeast Minneapolis

Drinks: $4 beers, $5 wines, $7 sangria, $8 specialty cocktails

Food: Get the prime rib sandwich special (trust us, you’ll love it, even if you’re not into prime rib), which includes a frosty mug of Grain Belt Nordeast for $10. Add house-cut fries for $3. Splurge on the Baileys Irish Cream cake for dessert. 

Afterward: Grab a nightcap, one block away, at the exotic and fun atmosphere that is Hai Hai, a Southeast Asian street food restaurant with a cool outdoor bar.


Icehouse

HIPSTER SCENE

Icehouse

This is the place to haunt when you want a grown-up dinner out, but it’s not quite in the budget. The low lighting and velvet-curtained stage of the music-venue area will make you feel young (and eligible) again. 

When: 2:30–5 p.m. daily 

Where: Eat Street, Minneapolis

Drinks: Go for the excellent wines, taps and rail cocktails ($2 off during happy hour) or try the anytime sipping shots — a steal at $5 in this City of Mixologists — featuring drinkable but boozy flavors and fun-to-order names like Strangers in the Night, Straight Cash Homie and Keyser Soze.

Food: Everything here is good. And many options can be made gluten-free, including the indulgent pastrami and egg with fries ($14) or the third-pound Icehouse Burger & Fries ($10) with onion confit, triple cream and aioli. 

Afterward: Check out the Pimento Jamaican Rum Bar next door for music and (some nights) dancing. (Glam Doll Donuts is down the street if you’re craving dessert.)


6 Smith meal

LAKE VIEWS

6 Smith

Indulge in eclectic fusion cuisine and cocktails on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Happy hour is offered in the bar area only, but you can see the lake. And you always can hit the patio (or rooftop) afterward for an outdoor experience.

When: 3–6 p.m. Monday–Friday; 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturdays; all day on Sundays, plus late-night options

Where: Wayzata

Drinks: $4 beers and mixed drinks, $7 wines and cocktails 

Food: Tasty apps range from $6 (double-dipped fries and oysters Rockefeller) to $7 (cheeseburgers, calamari and empanadas) to $8 (carne asada tacos and spicy lobster mac), plus many other enticing options.

Afterward: Assuming you’ve kept your drinking in moderation, set your map app to take you on cruise around the lake (via Highway 15 through Navarre) and close out your night at Adele’s Frozen Custard in Excelsior.


Groveland Tap wall

HOMETOWN FEEL

Groveland Tap

Feel like a low-key Mac-Groveland local when you settle into this friendly institution for the lovely phenomenon of the daytime happy hour (yes, even on weekends). 

When: 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m. every day, plus late night options

Where: St. Paul

Drinks: $3 draft beers, $5 wines

Food: All “beer snack” prices drop to $5–$7.59 during happy hour, including a poutine made with Ellsworth, Wisconsin cheese curds, or try the sweet potato tots with chipotle peanut pesto aioli.

Afterward: Get a scoop of ice cream to share (they’re huge) at Nelson’s Ice Cream, one of the best parlors in the city, a mile away.


Jefe

UPSCALE MEXICAN 

Jefe Urban Hacienda

Savor the city’s best margarita and authentic tacos in the gorgeous brick spaces of Jefe or — even better — on the Jefe patio, where you can feel the breeze and watch passers-by. 

When: 4–6 p.m. Monday–Friday

Where: Mississippi Riverfront, Minneapolis

Drinks: $4 for a beer and a bump (a Tecate plus a shot of tequila or rye whiskey), $5 margaritas and beers, $6 sangria and wine

Food: $3 gourmet tacos and $3 tostadas with salsa flights

Afterward: Walk along the Mississippi Riverfront and share an exquisite gelato at Wilde Café & Spirits, just down the cobblestone street. 


Sarah Jackson is the editor of Minnesota Parent. Don’t see your favorite place listed here? Share your thoughts below.

Need more ideas? Check out these date-night deals for couples!