Northbound Brewpub

Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

2716 E 38th St
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55406-3004
United States

(612) 208-1450 | map

Notes: Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub opened in September 2012 with much anticipation. Unlike most brewery taprooms, Northbound is a bonafide full-service brewpub with a restaurant and full bar that includes a great whiskey selection. Northbound continues to grow and evolve with its scratch kitchen, equipped with two industrial smokers and also by consistently pumping out adventurous top-notch beers.
View: Beers | Place Reviews
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 52 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of cratez
cratez from Canada (ON)

3.3/5  rDev -23.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Came here during a recent work trip to Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

Tried the following:
Northbound Jabrowni (draft)
Northbound Light Rail Pale Ale (flight sample)
Northbound Smokehouse Porter (flight sample)
Northbound Granola Girl (flight sample)
Northbound Dank Juice IPA (flight sample)

Beers ranged from below average to excellent. Standard, bare-bones atmosphere, very much a neighbourhood spot (bordering on parochial), quite busy on my visit. Service was underwhelming as I had to wait a while to order drinks and the waitress was a bit surly / unwelcoming. Good conversation could’ve made up for that, but the bar patrons were not interested in chatting. In sum, while the beer was solid, my overall experience was disappointing, and I don’t think I’d come back.

Apr 10, 2020
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.94/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is a fairly small place. It expands nicely when they can use the patio in warmer weather. The beers are solid. They have interesting styles for seasonal options. The food was all pretty good.

Jul 09, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

this place was great, the beer and food was fantastic, and i cant believe it took me so long to finally get in here and check it out. the place is smallish, mellow, and clean, with a rather mod feel, a full and large bar, and an equal focus on the restaurant aspect as the beer aspect. cool outside patio too, garden vibe, and a whole heap of solar panels! awesome! they are a smokehouse, and they are doing some incredible things with both food and beer. they had a maple brown ale brewed with maple syrup that they smoked in house! it was awesome, but their other beers were quite good as well, a range of basic styles done well and more ambitious beers, even a barrel aged offering. the food we ate was amazing, a trio of smoked fishes, including pike, which you just dont see too often, and it was just delicious. the smokehouse aspect seems to be in everything they do, and i am super into it. im not sure they sell kegs out of this place, i have never seen their beer on tap anywhere in the twin cities, so you might have to go here to drink it, but its worth doing for sure. service was sort of irrelevant, didnt enhance or detract from the experience either way. i will get back in here soon for a more substantial meal and a few more beers. everything in here was quality, and fairly priced too! under the radar, but they shouldnt be!

May 25, 2017
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DavidSchaal from Minnesota

4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great place with a great vibe. One of my favorite brewpubs!
Popular place, can get crowded and and there can be a wait -- that is well worth it.
Full bar and onsite brewed beers. Excellent dining and pub food.
Great neighborhood pub!

Mar 11, 2017
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Umdrunner from Wisconsin

4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Love this place! My favorite Brew Pub in Minneapolis! Always releasing great seasonal beers and have some excellent staples. Big Jim IPA is my favorite. I could eat their fresh cut fries and smoked pork all day! Fun urban vibe with killer happy hour ($3 house pints)!

Nov 28, 2015
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.99/5  rDev -7.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

The Northbound Brewpub was had a neighborhood feel and every table was full upon our arrival......based on the location this meant that it has staying power as the locals are the primary source of income. The beers were decent....but the food outshines the beer. The service was fine once they warmed up to us.....I think since we were obviously not local.....There was plenty to choose from on the menu and they had 8 beers on tap. The pulled pork was amazing! Worth a visit???? Ah Yeah!

Oct 06, 2015
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brewnic from Minnesota

4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Great place to sit outside and have a beer. As of 2014 you could have dogs on the patio. Beer selection in solid and easy to find at least 1 or 2 good taps. Food is great highly recommend the Wings. Only issue with NB is inside is small and at times can get crowded and it doesn't have much room to stand and wait.

Mar 06, 2015
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

This is a friendly little neighborhood place with good beer made on site and a smokehouse. The only place I know of where you can get a smoked egg salad sandwich and a house brew.

Sep 13, 2014
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guywholikesbeer from Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Northbound is one of the best brewpubs in the Twin Cities area. They have 4 year round beers, along with anywhere from 1-4 special offerings. In addition to their own beer, they usually have around 10 taps from other local breweries. The food is fantastic here, lots of smoked meats. Service is usually great, all the servers really know beer. On Friday and Saturday nights it can get pretty busy, but that is rarely a detriment to service. It's really close to the light-rail station, so you can easily get home without driving. Still a pretty new place so sometimes I wish they had more seasonal beers on tap, but since opening they have steadily increased their number of offerings. Killer patio for the summer months.

Jun 08, 2014
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KarlHungus from Minnesota

4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.5

Edit: 1/4/17. The food at Northbound has gone dramatically down hill over the past year to the point where I am no longer willing to eat there. The menu has become flavorless and uninspiring, and items often arrive cold. The beer is still solid though.


Northbound Brewpub has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the Twin Cities to drink beer, and eat food. Here's why:

The atmosphere, although somewhat sterile and completely lacking in that well lived in feel that is desirable in a bar, is still quite inviting for other reasons. The plentiful windows allow for ample people watching. The mildly-horseshoe-shaped bar allows for easy conversation amongst the barflys. But it is the regulars themselves that seem to be at their stools everytime I visit that gives the place its charm.

The beer is top notch. I wouldn't hesitate to say that the beer at Northbound is at a quality level equal to that of Town Hall. (For those of you unfamiliar with Town Hall, I'm saying they brew really high quality beer.) They have four year round beers: Big Jim IPA which is a strong example of the west coast style of IPA, Smokehouse Porter which is a slightly smoked porter that pairs perfectly with their smoked meats, Light Rail Pale Ale which is a juicy APA that is my favorite of the bunch, and a Honey Wheat which I have yet to try. In addition to their regular beer, they usually have a seasonal on tap. I've had four or five of them so far, and have thought they were all good to great. The Wild Rice Amber, and the DIPA (I forget its name) where both world class in my book. In addition to their house beers, Northbound also has a large selection of guest Minnesota craft beers that seems to rotate regularly, and always has some more exotic/harder to find offerings.

The food is exceedingly good. I would eat at Northbound regularly even if they stopped selling beer. They smoke their meats, cheeses, bacon, and malt in house, and they clearly know what they are doing. I've have half a dozen or so items from the menu, and they've all been great. The Porketta sandwhich is my favorite, but the Smoked Beef and Smoked Turkey are close behind. The waffle beer battered onion rings are to die for with their housemade horseradish sauce. The only beef I have with the food is that the menu is a la carte, and gets a bit pricey unless you're splitting a side with someone. (If anyone from the brewery is listening, it would be nice if you offered half orders on the sides/appitizers. It would get me in more often).

Slightly high a la carte food prices aside, the overall value at Northbound is quite reasonable. The beer is on the cheaper side for Minneapolis, and house beers are $3 during happy hour (3-5 I believe).

Also, I can't do justice with this review unless I mention the fact that Northbound has regular restaurant hours in contrast to the many tap rooms popping up around the Twin Cities that are only open for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

May 15, 2013
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morimech from Minnesota

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Arrived after peak lunch so the place was not very crowded. Sat at the bar. Looking around I can see they do not understaff their establishment. Service was friendly and knowledgeable. The atmosphere itself was nothing special, in fact I would say it does not have any character at all. The brewing operation is separated from the front of house and mostly out of sight.

I believe they had 12 beers on-tap at my visit with 5 being house beers, rest being local brews. I had the Smokehouse Porter and Big Jim IPA. The porter was slightly smoky and on the sweeter side. Big Jim was old school West Coast IPA. Both were quite good and would drink again. Food was also excellent. The menu is relatively small and focused. Had the porketta. Did not care for the onion rings as they use a waffle batter. Other folks might like the sweet coating but I understand it will be off the menu soon. The bacon was awesome.

I found it pricey. Not helped by the a la carte menu.

May 10, 2013
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jera1350 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev -7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Decided to swing in and give the beer a try here on a Sat. night. Not only was the inside packed, but the patio was also packed. Not that the place is large by any means, but they were definitely busy. We just stood inside and had our beers. The server at the bar was very friendly and helpful. Northbound had their smoked porter and Big Jim IPA on tap, but no others from themselves. The porter was good, but clearly missing the smoked malt. I was really hoping for a smoked up brew, but the porter was very good anyways. Big Jim is a huge IPA that was very hop forward. They also had Lift Bridge Farm Girl, Fulton Libertine, a couple of Indeed brews and one or two other beers on tap. All local and the list seems to change about daily. Didn't try any of the food. Overall, a nice neighborhood place to grab a beer. Hopefully once they get going a bit, they will have more of their own beers on tap, but right now they still have a nice variety. Definitely worth checking out.

Oct 21, 2012
Northbound Brewpub in Minneapolis, MN
Brewery rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 324 ratings