I dropped into The Public House Minneapolis the other night (Monday August 8th) for their opening week celebration. The event listed on their Facebook page was a Crispin and Fox Barrel cider sampling. Decent location on Washington Avenue just a block from The Loop Bar and a block from that to Deja Vu if you want to see strippers before or after. Nice open doors in the front with concrete adorning the floor, side bar area and pillars. The small 6 person granite bar was full along with about 5 small tables. After almost an hour many of the tables filled up and the noise level got loud enough that one would have to raise their voice to talk to others at their table. The concrete floors, open area to the kitchen and open ceilings don’t help to suppress the noise and most likely amplify it.  The concrete structure also means cell phone service is hard to get inside but they do have free wifi.

The beer menu was OK with the least expensive tap offerings being $5.00 for beers like Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, Great Lakes Dortmunder, Deschutes Obsidian Stout and a few others with the most expensive tap option Stone Arrogant Bastard ringing in at $6.50 a pint. Grain Belt, Budweiser, and Mich Golden Light are available in bottles for $3.50.  Compared with others around town the prices are on the higher side of things.

Before 6pm they have a seemingly reasonably priced $8 taco menu but after that things get a bit more expensive. Although I didn’t order anything to eat, the plates I watched go by were small and many were about 4 bites worth of food for $8-$12. Watching the food go by and checking out the menu, nothing really appealed to me as “I’ve gotta try that.” but I will try to drop back in some time for lunch and give it a shot.

Service was good for a newly opened restaurant trying to get into the swing of things and the waiter/bartender did stop by fairly often to check on me. I was quickly greeted by a number of employees when I sat down although some of that may have been that I was in the high traffic area right next to the bar and the kitchen. They did have the normal new spot issue like not enough menus printed out for everyone so you had to look fairly quick and surrender the laser printer menu for someone else to see.  It seemed that a good portion of the people wandering around were employees or people that had some type of vested interest in the place rather than normal customers.

When ordering a bottle of beer I was given the open of having it either in the bottle or in a glass. Nice to be given the option although even asking for it in a glass I’d rather be brought the bottle and allowed it pour it into the glass myself rather than have them bring it to me pre-poured and with bottle absent. While I always ask for a room temp glass for my beer at places that serve beer up in frozen glasses, these glasses were on the warm side and quickly brought the beer to room temp. Easy enough to solve that problem and drink quick with a Budweiser but a bit harder with an Odell Myrcenary Double IPA weighing in at 9.3% ABV.

There are a couple outside seats on the small slip of sidewalk along Washington but only 3 of them with 2 chairs each so good luck getting one if you want to drop in before or after a Twins game or around happy hour time.  By 8:15pm almost all of the tables were full (although it’s not a very large spot) and the Twins vs Boston game was still only in the bottom of the 7th inning with scores tied.  It is a decent walk for anyone wanting to drop in before or after a Twins game.  Maybe a post-game happy hour or free drink with your ticket stub would entice people to make the journey.  By 9pm it was down to 5 tables and 3/4 of the bar full.  Seems if people were part of a Twins crowd, they’d all headed home or elsewhere by that point.

Although they have just craft beer taps I have a hard time seeing this place as a craft beer bar. The majority of the patrons here don’t seem to be the craft beer type. It should be interesting to see of they can hold on to these craft only taps or if the tastes of the patrons push them to switch to a couple macro taps. For the night life in the area I think it’ll be a hard sell with other bars in the area taking care of the younger crowd looking to go out and party for the night and the food and drink menus not seeming to appeal to those looking for a night out on the town.

I have to question the reviews for this place showing up on Yelp! and a couple other spots calling The Public House “the next Minneapolis hotspot!” How can you make that call less than a week in business when most have never heard of the place? Seems someone may be either asking employees or friends to throw some reviews out there in their favor.  Beer and wine license only. Sorry, no mixed drinks which will may mean this doesn’t become the hotspot the reviews claimed. Sorry guys but to be able to really attract the crowds in this area on Friday and Saturday nights you need to be able to serve the younger crowd their forgotten last night drinks they beg for.

It seems they may have wanted me to leave as after the first beer I was asked if I wanted the check. After I said I’d like a 2nd beer and finished that, I was again asked if I was ready to head out and after ordering one more the menu was taken away right away (the 2 previous times they’d taken the beer menu shortly after ordering to give to someone else). The bartender was nice and let me know that the Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA is pouring a bit foamy so I should let him know if I wanted it topped off. You won’t get that everywhere. Most places could care less if they serve you a couple ounces less and dump your full pour down the drain.

The multi-use bathroom area that you have to go into to get to the 2 bathrooms also has exits to some lofts and somewhere else. Soap in the dispenser would be nice as would not having to walk back into a shared area to use the bathrooms. The butter knife on the floor added the extra touch I’d been looking for.

Overall I’m not sure what to think.  Its feels like the place isn’t sure how it will distinguish itself from others.  No single thing stands out as memorable or reason to come back again.  There are far better craft beer bars around town with better selections and pricing.  The atmosphere isn’t great unless you’re looking for a place with an industrial feel and even if that is the case there are better options.  I guess we’ll have to wait and see if others find some charm and reason to patronize this spot.