Monday, July 22, 2013

Town Hall Lanes opening night (Minneapolis, MN)

Town Hall Lanes
After our initial stop of the evening at the Urban Growler Open House and dinner at the Foxy Falafel (excellent!), friends of ours who were at the newly opened Town Hall Lanes said the crowd had thinned a bit and that we should head over. When we walked in, I felt like Norm at Cheersbeer folk I knew at every turn, servers and customers.

The text from our insider friend that it's "not that bad if you just want beer" meant there was actually standing room when we arrived some time a bit before 9 pm. Two sets of friends who had been in line before the grand opening at 6 pm were seated and reported that the food was very good. Compared to Town Hall proper, the new place has the standards like Masala Mama and other TH greats, but a lot more guest taps. I started and finished with the White IPA, a superb brew that demonstrates the genius of Mike Hoops et al at the TH brew house. Peppery, spicy and light while still being assertive and full bodied, I settled in with a second pint while chatting away with friends.

TH Lanes is much larger than TH Tap, a place I have only been a few times because the effort to get there versus seven corners is about the same and I mostly drink new releases. Plus, my pint club discount works downtown. TH Lanes is a much closer and easier to get to from the beer wasteland where I live, so I see myself heading there more often. Also, we have more friends near TH Lanes, so the added incentive might give it the boost for me to show up for a pint.  I didn't look at the menu, but the flatbread offering alone looked worth a second visit.

Town Hall Lanes main bar and restaurant.  Wish I had a better
picture of the absolutely incredible 100+ year old bar
Pete brought home from Washington. 
Owner Pete Rifakes seems to have pulled out all of the stops for the Lanes.  I heard the high ceiling and room for a gorgeous chandelier (I know, weird, but it really works) came from knocking out a floor. The extensive remodeling is apparent when compared to a picture posted by MNBeer of the old Skylane Bowling. From a distance, the condition of the bowling lanes looked superb to this semi-informed bowler (watched the PBA every Saturday with my mom growing up).

Tiled bathroom of Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philadelphia
And, the bathroom.  If the reader has ever been in the Town Hall bathrooms, the only thing that has changed in my memory is the advertisement over the urinal. Better than Triple Rock, but nothing to write about. At the TH Lanes, it was like being in a disco tech. The unified wash area splits into gender specific locations and is posh and beautifully finished; it ranks up there with the ceramic tile of the Grey Lodge Pub or the barley art stall dividers of Left Hand Brewing.

Just before leaving, I was able to congratulate Pete and Mike on a jammed packed opening night and on the beauty of the bar. Both, along with staff moved over from the brewery, were working hard to keep the beer and food flowing. Town Hall Lanes is a fantastic bar space that has the benefit of great beer and presentation of Town Hall, plus the added bonus of a bowling party without being forced to drink macro swill. Stop byit's worth the trip.

Fox News gives some love to the TH Lanes and Summit.  And a great article by


  1. Thanks for the "review." Sounds like it will go on the list of new places to check out next time I'm back in town.

  2. My cheerleader status for Town Hall does bias my review. But, I would definitely put it on the list for the next trip. I'm planning to have the speechie gathering there next summer for a bowling themed reunion.