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The Happy Gnome

Not Rated.
The Happy GnomeThe Happy Gnome

124 Ratings
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 88
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: n/a
Taps: 76
Bottles: 300
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

498 Selby Ave
Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55102-1727
United States
phone: (651) 287-2018

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thehappygnomemn

Place added by: tavernjef on 12-10-2005

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Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 88 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GilGarp
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I went to the Happy Gnome about a year ago and had never heard of it prior. The place was suggested by some friends and my girlfriend was all about it. Not because she likes beer but because she loves gnomes!

It was a rainy Friday evening and the place was packed. It's located in a beautiful historic building that I believe was once a firehouse. The front bar has a very high ceiling with nice big windows. There's lots of dark wood and a warm cozy atmosphere. The back area is a little more intimate with tables and chairs set up like a restaurant. Overall pretty dark but lots to look at.

The beer selection was impressive and I went for a Surly Furious. Again, at the time I had never heard of the bar or the Surly brewery - I only picked it because it was local. I was very pleased to have "stumbled" upon it.

We had some appetizers to share and the food was very good if not a little expensive.

A great place for a beer and I hope to go back soon.

Photo of supercolter
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I love this place, great place to chill. A nice and relaxed bar with nice people and good beer. There is quite a well chosen selection of beers from wee heavy to tripels to IPA's, you will not be disappointed. The stock rotates quite frequently, which is good but the menu doesn't always keep up with what's available. The food is also very good, teryaki wings are phenominal. Our bartender was very nice, but seemed a bit lacking in his ability to recommend on taste. He knew what he thought was good but he didn't know how to sell that to us. Oh well, he was a great guy and tended to our needs.

Photo of Ben4881
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3

Outstanding selection of local, regional, domestic, and foreign brews on tap. The service was exceptional and the server who served us was very knowledgeable about their beer menu. The people sitting at the table next to us were not familiar with most of the beers on the menu. One of the guys was looking for a particular beer they did not have. Our server made impressively appropriate recommendations. The food seemed to be pretty standard, but I only had a BLT and fries. There was a list of gourmet cheeses on the menu, but I did not have a chance to sample any of them. Therefore, my food score is slightly skewed in that way. The bar area is encompassed with dark rich tones and quality woodwork. The enclosed split-level wood patio in the back is also very nice. There is a large tree in the middle of the patio creating excellent shade and atmosphere. Overall, I had a great experience at this bar. I will certainly return to this establishment on my next trip to the Twin Cities.

Photo of ghamr
4.61/5  rDev +4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

We stopped in on a Sunday afternoon after a reccomendation by a brew club member. It lived up to our expectations! I drooled over the many desirable beers on tap, some I was not familiar with. I decided to check out the banquet room upstairs & met the owner, John Mills. Nice guy & trying hard to have special events: St Patrick's weekend tent & Beer Dinners(hoping to attend one). Back down stairs a jazz duo was playing at just the right volume. Hated to leave. Since we're over an hour away, we will have to make a road trip plan for St Patrick's Tent to try some of the fify firkens from area brewers!

Photo of Gump
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 2

Formerly Chang O'Haras, the Happy Gnome on Selby has a spacious outdoor patio.

I've been here several times, but have stopped coming for lunch. The food was less than spectacular. Everyone at the table had something negative to say about their meal. From "this isn't walley" to "my bun is stale".

But the beer selection makes up for the food. Nearly 70 taps by my count and all good beer. They aren't filling the line with endless macro beers.

Service is always good and if you can sit outside in the summer evenings you will definitely have a nice time.

The parking lot can get full, so you might be parking on side-streets.

Photo of mnfinnkidd
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

The Gnome is the location of our homebrew club meetings. The beer selection is great. Usually 15+ American craft brews on tap and an addition 5+ Belgian brews on tap. They use specific glassware with some brews. Kwak being the coolest. The food of the Gnome is deliciously. My favorite being the 4 cheese macaroni. They also have a great selection of scotches and mixed drinks. They have a nice patio that I've never experienced and they are currently updating there upstairs which has a second complete bar. The only thing that is frustration with the Gnome is sometimes it's hard to find a parking space. Otherwise the gnome is a Twin Cities beer destination that you should add to your list.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.45/5  rDev -21.8%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

I've been to the Happy Gnome a couple times now, most recently yesterday. The atmosphere seems very polished, and sterile. There is a long winding bar and a lot o wood around, but nothing that really sets it apart from other establishments. On top of that the classic rock/bring back the 80's music playing loudly in the background was enough to make me want to bash my head into the bar. I don't plan on drinking the same beer everyday for the rest of my life, why would I want to listen to the same music everyday too. The service has been alright on my visits. The bartenders seem to know the beer well which is nice. However, I would rather have a friendly server who is good at what they do, then a guy who know a lot about beer but is unfriendly and kind of creepy. The beer selection is top notch both on tap and in bottle. The taps are full of oddities from local are regionaly miros and a few rare imports. The bottle list doesn't have as many rare beers as the tap list, but it is still very complete with very solid beer in all styles. The food is quite a bit better than you standard pub fare, but not so good that it is worth the price they are charging for it. Overall, I wont be coming back to the Happy Gnome. The food is subpar, and overpriced. The beer selection is good, but there isn't anything that can't be found at the Blue Nile, Acadia, or Bryant Lake Bowl, and at all those places the service is a lot better.

Photo of ryantupy
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

The Happy Gnome is definatly one of the best beer bars in Minnesota. The patio is great, its without a doubt the best place to sit. The Happy Gnome always has cask beers every thursday and daily specials. This is a great place to grab a pint. Even better though, the food is great to! The menu is great it has many unique menu items. I like the mussels steamed in Ace Pear Cider. The beer menu on tap and in the bottle is huge. The service has always been pretty good. No complaints here, this place is great all around.

Photo of Scoobydank
4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

My wife, 2 friends and my brother in law stopped in there after a tour of the summit brewery at about 6:30 on a Saturday night. We were able to step right up to the bar and start drinking. The bar ender came right up to us and I started asking questions about the beers. He had a bit of knowledge, but had trouble giving me some answers. Gave me a sample of Surly's Bitter Brewer. I was pretty excited they still had some left. I eventually was lucky enough to start talking to one of the owers(Weston). He set up my brother in law and I with another ample of the Rodenbach. It was great o be able to talk to him. Both of us being in the business, it was fun to be able to talk about the people we knew and the upcoming beers in the state and such. So that was a blast. Overall I really enoyed the bar and will make it a point to go again. I was not able to have any food, other than french fries. I definitely suggest the place.

Photo of dfried
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Happy Gnome is one of the premier beer establishments in the Twin Cities area. Probably the largest tap list, and a giant bottle list. I have been to some beer bars boasting huge tap lists in other parts of the country who have a lot of common "filler" taps, domestics and very common imports, but they do a pretty good job of keeping them to a minimum here. Same with the bottle list, and they have a respectable Belgian list, though not exceptional.

The set up is pretty nice with a large L shaped bar with a row or so of seating around part of it, and booths all the way around. A lot of wood work, nothing over the top fancy, but it looks great. It seems to attract a lot of local people, but a lot of people seeking good beers too. They get two different cask beers every Thursday, usually a Surly and/or Bells or other regional stuff, and that's what really gets me up there.

The service is usually knowlegeable, and can be hit or miss for how personable they are. Two quick examples. They usually have a "Featured Brewery" of the month, it was Avery a couple of months ago, so they had a bunch of extra Avery products they normally wouldn't. After having a cask Surly Furious (awesome) I ordered an Avery Czar on tap. This Fabio looking bartender said "we don't have it on tap, how about a bottle?" Since it said it was on-tap in the menu and on the board I just wanted to confirm it was off so I asked. I got a very condesending "our beers runout so fast we can't always keep up with the listing." Whatever buddy, I can't keep up with your tip either. Second example, a lot better. My buddy and I showed up right before the kitchen closed, and the waiter was able to sneak in our order. Then we ordered Avery & Russian River's Coloaboration Not Litigation's. He comes back with full pints and says "I don't think the bartender knew they were supposed to be 10oz pours." (I am pretty sure the guy who poured it was the "Fabio" looking guy.)

I have never had an entree there, but I have ordered off the appetizer menu a few times, a lot of original flavor combinations, and pretty high quality especially for a beer bar, though moderately pricy for what you get. They also have a lot of multi-course beer dinners which is a big plus in my book. They are one of the leaders in our beer community around the cities in changing the paradigm about beer to the masses.

Overall: Not THE must stop for dank beer in the Twin Cities, but it's very high on the list. They do a lot for beer around here, they are the only non-brew pub to have cask ales regularly, the beer dinners have been selling out, they do things like coordinate buses full of people to go to Bockfest at the Schell's Brewery. Just an all around good place that is improving beer's image to the masses. Great selection, great quality. At times it seems at attract a younger, routier crowd (the pot calling the kettle black, I am a 25 year old party animal) compared to some of the smaller dank beer bars like the Muddy Pig, Blue Nile, and Acadia, but this place is pretty awesome for anyone.

Photo of Mdog
4.1/5  rDev -7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

I enjoy going to the Happy Gnome in order to try some beers that are only available on tap in the Twin Cities. I normally go around lunchtime so it is usually quite empty at that time, but that is fine with me.

They have a great selection of beer and the quality has been good on everything I've tried there. I've only eaten here once, the food was fine but more fancy and expensive than I need. Service is ok.

I'll keep going back as long as they keep having great beers on tap and a nice big parking lot.

Photo of Tizzod
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped by around 11:30 on saturday night. Was able to get a booth but the bar was lively and fairly full. Nice cozy atmosphere and an excellent selection of beers on tap. Owing to the lateness of the hour I was only able to have one, which was a Bell's Kalamazoo stout on cask. It was delicious. I also had an order of french fries, which aren't the menu as a side, but are worth asking for, as it was a generous portion and they were fantastic (even the ketchup seemed homemade and was great as well). All in all it was a great place to grab a beer and I look forward to returning.

Photo of marcobrau
3.88/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

On previous visits I've been to the Muddy Pig (down the street and around the corner), but thought I'd check out the Gnome this time. I wasn't disappointed.

This pub had 24 drafts. Only one was Miller Lite. The only other light golden colored beer on tap was Stella Artois...and, uh, I guess Delirium Tremens. Being from Chicago, it hurt to see that Bell's is very poplular up here these days. The Gnome had two Bell's beers on tap; Two Hearted and Winter White. In fact, it seems Michigan beer in general is doing well up here, as I found Arcadia to be rather prominent, too. The Gnome had two Arcadia beers (from Battle Creek) including a porter and a Scotch Ale. A couple Colorado breweries were represented, too, with two taps from Left Hand and Avery. (It seemed that pretty much the entire Avery selection was available in bottles.) Minnesota brews on tap included the requisite Surly taps Furious and Bender along with three Summit offerings. The only Wisconsin beer I noticed on draft was from Rush River. It was a Winter Scotch Ale. Low country brews included Koningshoeven Quadrupel and Delirium Tremens.

The Gnome was dark inside and fairly quiet (on a Wednesday night) except for a party upstairs. Quiet, but not in bad way, with the lighting actually the making place feel warm and cozy. The bar was playing music (satellite radio, I believe) at a fairly low volume that allowed for conversation. Although not a huge fan of the beer, I couldn't help noticing how good the drafts of Stella Artois looked, with the light shining through them just right, giving them a heavenly glow.

For dinner I had the Duck Confit Bruschetta (paired with a Scotch Ale from Rush River) which consisted of duck meat layered on top warm goat cheese and baguette slices with poached pears and wilted greens layered on top. This tasty mountain was covered in a port wine glaze/reduction, which of course, inspired me to have a glass of port after my meal...although as a Beer Advocate I suppose I should've gone for the Koningshoeven Quad....but I couldn't resist a glass of port.

If I'm back in St. Paul, I'll definitely go back to the Happy Gnome.

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I stopped in the Gnome to meet up with a slew of my college crew and to check out Surly’s cask, tea-bagged bender. I wish I could do that more often.

With plenty of parking, we walked inside and grabbed a seat at the large corner bar that wrapped around a corner in the building that was further littered with small tables and booths. Looking up on the wall, I spied the chalked in beer list sporting a great Minnesota beer selection. Being from the East, I was a bit put off by the lack of locals, but then quickly recalled that there aren’t any locals here. Surly and Summit were proudly offered thankfully. I grabbed me a Furious and waited for the cask to be tapped.

Over all, I thought the place was a little dark, but I think that had a lot to do with the huge, floor to ceiling windows looking out over Selby at night. That made sense. I’ll have to come back during the daylight hours to get a better feel and to try out the food.

Concerning service, even though the place was packed and getting busier, the bartender was right on, attentive and quick. That was well noted and appreciated.

This place is a definite attribute to any beer lover’s scene. If I were still local, I could see myself coming here pretty regularly. But, there seemed to be a blandness to the beers for some reason. Maybe that was just this rotation, but it really didn’t impress me. I think the Blue Nile has a more exotic beer selection, where as the Gnome had a far bigger selection, but nothing too daring or adventurous. I suppose after I got sick of Town Hall and the Nile, this would be my number three. Enough negativity. I dug this place and although I don’t make it to MN all that often, I’ll be back soon.

Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

TavernJef was kind enough to come out and meet me at Great Waters B.C. and afterwards, we stopped off at this place before parting company. The entryway was through the parking lot and there was an angular vestibule with the bar directly through the door and a stairwell leading to the second floor off to the left. The bar was a zigzag affair with a combination of dark, stained wood and granite. All of the way forward, in the building, was a fireplace with booths along the right wall. To the left, past the bar, were tables and chairs followed by a doorway onto an outside patio with its own bar. They featured several blackboards that utilized colored chalk to advertise their current beers. This was important not only from the eye-catching aspect of the colored chalk, but also because they routinely offer a selection of twenty-four (24) taps and seventy-five (75) bottles. I also noted a couple of interesting pseudo-totem poles flanking the interior doorway. When I asked, I was escorted up to the second floor, where they had a huge separate banquet facility with its own bar, available for rent for a mere $150. That’s it?!? OMFG, I was ready to move to the Midwest on the spot and I still contemplate the idea on a daily basis. Finally, their name and logo … was this a nod to Travelocity?

Photo of TastyTaste
3.54/5  rDev -19.7%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

After coming from the Muddy Pig this place was somewhat of a dissapointment. The crowd was much trendier and seemingly less beer conscious, the music was pop/rap/mainstream, and playd very loudly. The waitstaff seemed a little slower, as well. Those were the bad parts, the good parts were the beer selection. All sorts of American Micros for you to sift through, lots on tap, even more in bottles. The bottle list also included Belgians and some other rare Euros, there is definitely something to suit every taste on this menu. Locals, seasonals, rarities abounded. I would prefer going here for lunch instead of during peak hours on a Friday or Saturday, as I think the clientele did not fit in with the aim of this bar.

Photo of shivtim
4.5/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

In a very cool (if maybe slightly gentrified) St.Paul neighborhood just up the street from the huge cathedral. Inside there is the tiny namesake gnome hiding above the bar, placed almost as an afterthought. I love it. The bar kind of wraps around the corner near the entrance, and divides the place into two sections. One is larger and more open, the other is an intimate space with just a row of cool window-side booths. The front doors are framed by interesting totem poles. There's also a shady outdoor seating area. The selection is outstanding, with 24 micros on tap (an excellent selection from around the country) and a crapload of bottles from around the world.
All-in-all, it's an excellent place to have a drink or two or three.

Photo of CH3CH2OH
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Love this place! I went there on a Sunday afternoon and sat on their deck behind the restaurant. The beer selection was exceptional. The quantity was good, but the choices were excellent.

I was told that originally the Gnome would specialize more in North American craft beers, but it seems to be tipping toward the Belgian heavy selection that the co-owned Muddy Pig has. There were 6 Belgians on tap, with another 18 from Germany and NA.

The waitress' beer knowledge was o.k., but she made up for it by being friendly and helpful on the food selection. I had the Bacon Bison burger with chipotle cheese, my buddy had a tuna tartare. Both were excellent. Just the fact that they had tuna tartare sets the Gnome apart from the pack.

I had a glass of Seriously Bad Elf and Surly Cynic Ale on tap. Both were served at the proper temperature, but the Surly seemed a bit undercarbonated.

Not as good as the Muddy Pig, but still one of the best places in the TCs. They need to build some signature dishes, work on their beer handling, and have some more events to draw people in. Some more training for the serving staff would be helpful as well.

I will definitely be back!

Photo of hgrong
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

I am a big fan of the Muddy Pig, so I was really excited when they opened this US based beer bar. The atmosphere is significantly better than it was as Chang O'haras. Hardwood and relatively low lightling creates a nice relaxed atmosphere. The service is alright. It does not seem to me that the servers are really beer people, but they do their job well otherwise. I love the selection here. The menu is based mainly on US microbreweries with a nod to Belgians and the English. Around thirty taps makes it one of the best selections in the Twin Cities. The food is mediocre. Trying to be upscale but never quite pulls it off. The cheese plates are wonderful however.

My favorite bar in St. Paul.

Photo of WindoraEric
3.94/5  rDev -10.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5

The Happy Gnome (whose website hasn't been updated in over a year), is kinda like a James Page beer, in that all the ingrediants are there for success and you feel like you should like it more. After all, it's local, it used to be great, and you keep trying it and expecting it to be better each time.

Their niche is beer, of course. Lots of high quality beer. The Gnome easily has the best selection of beer in town, hands down. The row of 24 taps and close to 100 bottles, with a focus on domestic microbrews, sends chills down my spine. And better yet, you can't get a Miller, a Bud or a Coors on tap. I'll gladly pay a little more to be able to try beer from a brewery that only makes a couple hundred gallons of beer a year.

But everytime I go there I keep thinking, "Gosh it was so much better when it was Chang's." The prices were a little better, they had a nice happy hour and you could buy pitchers (that's right, no pitchers and no happy hour at the Gnome). And right now, the patio--what Chang's was perhaps known best for--is closed until they get the proper license. I miss the down-to-earth feel, and the unique Asian-Irish motif. Because let's face it, gnomes are silly, and is that a gnome being hanged on the sign?

So I went to the Gnome the other night with two good friends whom I hadn't seen in a while. We were looking forward to catching up and more importantly, trying some unique beers. By far one of the best deals at the Gnome are the 22 oz. bottles of beer from Rogue Brewery from Oregon. They're only $8.50 and perfect for sharing. And they're amazing. We were torn between the Younger's Special Bitter and the Shark Tooth Ale.

Now, one would think that if you work in a bar that caters to beer snobs like me, the wait staff should be able to describe each beer or find someone who could.

Me: "What's the Shark Tooth Ale like?" Fair question. I'd had the Younger's and loved it.
Her: "Well...I didn't like it." But...what's it like?
Me: "Is it very bitter?" Another fair and easy-to-answer question.
Her: "Oh yeah. It is." Really?

Being torn and the fact that there were three of us, we got both bottles. Shark Tooth: not very bitter. A nice hoppy finish, but I wouldn't put it in the same realm, as say, a HopDevil Ale from Victory. Even on the bottle is says, "Enjoy this crisp, cool ale with a hoppy bite." It was a great beer nonetheless, but it wasn't bitter. This has happened on several visits to the Gnome, where I've been lead astray, told a bock was an ale or they don't have a beer when in fact they do.

But like every visit to the Gnome, the vast selection of great beer trumps any negative experiences. We also had a round of Furious from local brewers Surly. Now this is a hoppy bitter beer. But it's sooo smooth. And better yet, it was bought by Omar, the owner of Surly, who was sitting next to us. Thanks! (As an aside, St. Paulites can now drink Surly at Sweeney's and the Highland Grill.)

We finished off the night with a 22 ouncer of Hog Heaven from Avery Brewing. Whoa. The label says it's a "barleywine-style ale," so we were immediately skeptical, as they tend to be way too matly and strong, but this one was excellent. Clocking in at 9.2% alc, with 104 International Bittering Units (your standard American lager has like 10 IBUs), it was still smooth and a great beer before going to bed.

So I'll give the Happy Gnome 6 out of 10, it's saving grace being the beer selection. Once the patio opens and once they update their website, it might make it up to an 8. Until then, I'll keep going. After all, it's local, it used to be great, and I keep expecting it to be better each time.

Photo of ADR
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 2

The Muddy Pig in the way of a co-owner has come home to roost on the former Chang O'Hara's Bistro, where he used to bartend. A lot of the funky atmosphere has been replaced by removing the chinese lanterns, weird ornaments, and by painting over what remained in more monochromatic British racing green paint. And of course the HUGE beer selection both on tap and in the bottle is new. The new place seems just as popular, just as crowded on a Thursday night though I can't but help that think that people are just returning to a place they always loved. The bar and table layout remains the same, though the wood seems to be cleaned and re-finished in many cases. I didn't get a chance to check too many taps for freshness, but the two pints I did order were in good shape. Service seemed fine, one wait person was familiar to me in that she worked at Great Waters for a few years. The food seems overpriced, overambitious, and frankly, a little parsed in small portions. I had a bison burger that was completely dominated by a horseradish sauce, and it doesn't seem like college kid staples like a giant plate of fries are still available. Still, a real St. Paul "beer bar", and the outdoor seating is sure to be the hit it always was come the warm weather.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Brought to you by the makers of The Muddy Pig, this is their more domestic micro-focused beer bar. To start with, parking was easy, even on a Friday night. The exterior is wicked cool, a lovely old building, and I really like the littel gnome flag, and definietly appreciate how there aren't (!!) a lot of little gnomes all over the place... would've been too cheesy. Interior seated area is filled with woodwork, lovely and clean, and really simple. I appreciate that in a place, where the woodwork says enough and there isn't a lot of crappy artwork or other distractions from the main event, which is the beer and your company (in that order, really:). Later moved to bar area with there great little tables.. actually, long skinny ones, where it isnt' impossible to talk without yelling. Sat seven around a table and talked in normal voices despite a lot of people in the bar.

Service.... ya know, I come to expect slower service at places like this, and thats ok. No pushy service, no yappy server pushing deserts or conversation on you, good. But for a beer bar, when you sit with an empty glass for more than five minutes, thats just not acceptable. And that happened twice. I was about to give a 3.5 for that, but I have to give them something for their excellent knowledge of the selection of both beer and food.

Selection. Can't complain about anything. Lots of stuff I haven't had, lots of beers I haven't had on tap, lots of stuff I need to go back there for to try. I mean, 20-odd taps. There is this bar called Williams, who boasts that it has over 100 taps... and it really is an impressive sight at first, until you get closer and realize that they simply have every selection from Bud, Miller, etc., and that they really don't have anything I haven't had. Not the case here, obvioulsy. If I rememebr correctly, I'd probably had maybe half, more likely a quarter of their tap beers on tap before. Celebration on tap? Yes please. But the prices are just wrong. I mean, I know that 12 oz.ers are run up quite a bit, but $5 for a beer I can get a 6'er of for a few bucks more? I just bought a bunch of Great Divide 750s from the store, and to see them at what, $12, $13? Something like that? Uh uh, no way, thats getting a little high, friends.

Food was really good, but would have like a little more for my money. Taste and amount of food, that is. My initial impression is of those chain sit-down restaurant TV commercials where a couple goes to some fancy restaurant and is served a couple carrot slices and wedge of meat in some pretty but minimal presentation, meaning, looks nice, but I need food in my tummy too, damnit.Same thing here. How much would it cost for just a little more pasta, seriously. But, it was flippin good, so 4. Yay. About a $50 bill for two dinners, 5 beers or so, and a really good time. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Photo of tavernjef
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

Where to start...um the atmosphere is good, about the norm for most bars, can get a bit noisy during peak dinner hours and weekends. Smoking allowed I think as I saw a few cigs and a stoogie smoking the place up. A nice place to visit though. Clean, simple, spacious, warming, inviting; rough/unfinished looking wood dominates the decor as it takes up a good portion of the boothes, bar, and ceiling tops. The wood style fits well, looking similar to a small cabin with dark green grass walls and some photos and paintings of the outdoors. Throw in a fireplace and it could be someones northern cabin. Places where gnomes may roam I guess.
Parking lot right off Selby has ample spaces. Once inside there's a large bar in front with big tinted windows looking out onto Selby Ave. A side bar has about 6 or 7 extra seatings right in front of the taps. There's two dining areas, one out by the bar/front area and one kinda in back. Also, they have an upstairs completely fitted with the same tap lines for events, banquets, and catering.

Service was iffy at first. I sat for at least 6 to 7 minutes once I sat at the back bar area, 2 different servers said "someone will be with me" and walked around in back, doing nothing to spectacular, while could've easily asked me what I needed or wanted.
Whether or not the area you're in is yours to attend to or not, the servers should be all over getting people their first drinks well within the first minute or two. I marked down for that slightly. The service, once served my first beer, was much better, and quite friendly and knowledgeable of the beers and by half glass of my winter warmer I nearly forgot that I sat for so long when first sitting down. Still errked me though.

Selection is killer - 25 different taps, lots of micros, locals, and import gooodies of the Belgain kind. 90+ bottle choices too, all different with many great selections of US micros and a handful of Belgian and England imports. No Happy hour at the Happy Gnome? What's up with that? OK, I can see having to, want to, or need to make money, but at the asking prices for some of the beers, it shouldn't be much to ask for a break in the wallet for a couple hours a day for us willing and thirsty customers. and yes, the prices are high, but sadly, actually about right for what I've been finding lately in the TC area other than happy hour pricing. $4.50 Summit taps- $5, $6, $7, and $8 are tapped and priced accordingly to the brews available with the Belgians and micros. A bit high for most. The bottle pricing is what really needs to be adjusted here. $5 for one 12oz bottle of Bell's? I can get a sixer of the same for less then the cost of 2 here. Also $12 for bombers of Great Divide Yeti and Hercules? $18 for a 750 of Avec les bons Voeux? Way too high. It's not like they're paying the liquor store prices and going from there.

Food is quite good, if again, a bit high ended on the wallet. Menu is smalll and limited and not the typical norm of a sandwich/burger place. My burger had a spicy kick and was cooked to perfection, the fries were big and hearty served with a home made ketchup. The fair is tilted towards an upscale, well-made, spiced up, trendyish, vege thing. Very good though.

Dinner and two beers was $25. Pricey place but nice to have on the block in St. Paul. Now if they could relax a bit on the beer pricing and get a location in lowertown...that could make my year!

Photo of edbeered
4.5/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

This newly open bar and restaurant is operated by the same team that runs the Muddy Pig a couple blocks away. They spent some money remodeling and it shows. Built in an old firehouse, the newly renovated bar features a lot of wood panelling around and behind the bar. What was once a cold sterile environment is now much warmer and friendlier. The food and the tone are more upscale than the Muddy Pig, and what I've eaten so far has been excellent, if pricey. It is the beer selection which is the real star. Only open a couple of weeks, this is already the best beer bar in the Twin Cities. Whereas the Muddy Pig's emphasis is global, here the emphasis is on American craft beers. There are 24 taps. There is a single obligatory crap beer tap(Miller Light),3-4 Belgians(DT, Hoegarden, Stella), one British(Boddington's) and 18 American craft beer taps! They include 4 beers from Summit, 2 from Bells, Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale, and Victory Hop Devil, as well as beers from Arcadia(MI), Rogue, Breckenridge, Left Hand, and Boulder. Many are beers I have never before seen on draft in Minneapolis-St Paul(and certainly not all in one place). One of the owners says they might be serving cask ales next year. There are 60 bottled beers, mostly American craft beers,with a few British and Belgian bottled products thrown in. This is a very welcome addition to the Twin Cities bar scene and an essential stop for any craft beer lover.

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The Happy Gnome in Saint Paul, MN
97 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.