Bryant-Lake Bowl

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Bryant-Lake BowlBryant-Lake Bowl
42 Ratings
Bryant-Lake BowlBryant-Lake Bowl

Type: Bar, Eatery

810 W Lake St
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55408-2846
United States

(612) 825-3737 | map

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Added by tavernjef

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Ratings: 42 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of nadiashebang
4.58/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of gatornation
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Been here half a dozen times in the last 6 years, and really should come here more often, i guess the parking and location prevent me from going so much. BLB always has some good pours sometimes they have stellar pours the service always has been very nice , have had many samples offered and good conversation with the barkeeps. Love the retro interior and mural the lanes in the rear are white noise and nice to see, this is always a place i remember when i was looking for something better on tap and they are still doing this now.

 534 characters

Photo of HopliteMpls612
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of Josholson666
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of jakemn91
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

One of the first craft bars that I visited, got to play some old school bowling with keeping score by hand. Had the Pad Thai that was very good and usually have great selection of beer and have been back for a few special releases.

 231 characters

Photo of Taybeh
4.14/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

Photo of TooGood
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of millelacsmark
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

This is an old 1940's bowling alley and the newest bowling balls probably date from the 1950s. Until 1993 when the current owner took over they served 3.2 beer and bar pizza. She recreated it with a bistro type kitchen not much bigger than a coat closet, a decent menu and a craft beer list. Their list has slipped over the past year but they still offer up a reasonable selection of local and regional craft beer on tap. Food is decent, atmosphere good.

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Photo of Alpar
5/5  rDev +19.3%

Photo of jvf28
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of benjamincarter
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of ddavison
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of Pug
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of Djsaturn1
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

According to my notes, 2002 was the last time I logged a beer at Bryant Lake Bowl. I think I've been there since--just no new beers on tap for me. My recollections of BLB walking in the door again was of an adequate tap list, memorable pad thai and a night of fun but frustrating bowling due to some lanes, though pitchers of Summit smoothed out the rough patches. Last night's Friday night gathering of Sibley friends was a revelation.

Finding a truly amazing beer for the first draft helped the night along: Bourbon Barrel Aged Bell's 9000. Boozy bourbon wafts above a dark ale with an original gravity of over 1.100. Big beer with a complex taste of wood, chocolate, vanilla and sweetness that's smooth, elegant and slightly overbalanced from the high alcohol. A real treat by itself, but it also happens to be the "batch" beer that I was missing. Before last night, I've been able to sample, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000 and 10,000. Better to be lucky than good, I guess, but frequently good bars will tend to make one lucky as well.

The food is also fantastic. My wife had the mock duck rolls, which she reported as very good--good enough that I didn't get a sample. I did the pad thai with mock dock and my recall on this dish was spot on. Dan ordered medium compared to my hot, which Lori compared and said mine was significantly hotter, as expected; my bald head was sweating slightly, but it wasn't stupid spicey--just nicely at the limit. Plus, I had purposely ordered a double IPA, Bell's Hopsolution, to counterpoint with high hop: an excellent combination that I would love to repeat.

My wife was surprised at how loud it was sitting in the restaurant, but, evidently, she's always been there late at night or not on a Friday. With a full house and a waiting list for the bowling lanes, I was hoarse after our three hour dine and drink session with friends. Not an uncomfortable volume for our group of six and everyone could participate in the conversation, but it did take a bit of effort to speak.

For entertainment, in between the other drafts, I had a little beer you may have heard of...Surly Darkness. With a half a dozen additional beers that I would happily drink, Bryant Lake Bowl has seemingly upped its beer game. I saw on an RSS feed that BLB did have a Bell's event tapping earlier in the week, so maybe we picked a good night is all. But, I intend to test the theory in the near future and not wait so long to return to Bryant Lake Bowl.

 2,508 characters

Photo of DCC
2.95/5  rDev -29.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I'll give them yet another shot, but it's happened a couple times that we've had a server who is so distracted and overcommitted that they can't keep our order straight. After getting a glass of wine when I asked for a beer, and didn't get the replacement for another ten minutes, we scratched our dinner this time and put it off til later. Similar things have happened on busy nights before, and a place like this should be pretty sure of when they're getting busy.

Good selection, and the bowling can be part of the mood or a distraction, depending on who you are. I'd like to see an update to the restaurant area sometime.

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Photo of JoRado
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I love this place. I come here all the time for their beer selection and usually always find one or two things on their tap list that make me say, "Alright! I know what I'm getting!".

The food is good too, but I've never paid full price. I usually only order food when they have the happy hour specials. None the less nothing I haven't tried that I was disappointed with.

Great atmosphere too. They have a bowling alley if you want to bowl with some friends or just sit at some candlelit tables for some drinks and apps.

I have to say the waitstaff here isn't the greatest. The bartenders are great, but due to the waitstaff always seeming grumpy or mad for no reason, I've chosen to always just order from the bartender. I really don't understand why they are, and it isn't all the time, but definitely most of the time.

Overall I love this place and always grab a drink here when I can.

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Photo of Greggy
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Re-review on 2/9/2012

Atmosphere is a crowded little restaurant bar in the front of a divey bowling alley. This is a good thing! It's typically crowded. We stopped in on a Saturday night and were able to snag a little 2 top adjacent to the bar. There's a great uptown vibe at BLB. I like it!

The qaulity of BLB is good. The pints are well poured and the food option are always a-plenty. I would like to see Bryant Lake Bowl supporting more craft breweries. I would say 35-40% of tap offerings are local which isn't bad but I think they could go oven further.

Service can be hit or miss. Our server on our last visit was a space case. It took him a long time to get to us. He was knowledgeable of the beer list and food and got our drinks promptly. It took a while until he returned to take our order. We got the mock duck rolls (excellent) to split. I don't recall what my fiance got for an entree but I had the crab cakes on special. I think it was 12 bucks and was the most fantastic roasted potatoes I've ever had topped with 2 excellently done crab cakes, slaw and some type of spicy remoulade or coulis. What a bargain for an excellent dish! We didn't see or server much during the rest of the visit. Other servers popped in on us and got us waters and more beers. Overall, not a great server but the others servers seeing us in need shows that this isn't how the whole place runs.

Overall value is quite good. The food is great and affordable and the beer isn't expensive either. Definitely check this out if you haven't.

 1,533 characters

Photo of John_M
4.23/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I suppose if you're looking for an upscale beer and dining experience, this place might not be for you. However, I just loved the low key, laid back, welcome to the neighborhood vibe at Bryant Lake Bowl, and I'm sure I'd be a regular if I happened to live within 10 miles of the place.

From the outside, BLB doesn't look like much, just another funky looking cafe in a diner setting. It's more of the same inside, with a small, informal dining area and 10 seat bar to your left upon entering. In the back there's an actual bowling alley, and I love looking at the happy hour chalk board, which had special pricing for food, beer and bowling lines/games. BLB has the look of a place that has seen a few things in its time, which IMHO only adds to the cool, laid back ambiance to the place. I spent over two hours at the bar, and the time just seem to slip away, while I sat there with my book and kicked back with a beer or four.

As for the beer selection, there was something like 23 or 24 beers on tap (one cider), and the selection was more than a bit impressive. The Surly 5 had just kicked, but otherwise they had the helles and furious from Surly, as well as the oracle, all souls, clutch and Odell's lupulin (among other things). The bartender confirmed that the tap selection turns over and rotates frequently (what a surprise with this line-up).

Service was very good, with my bartender friendly and attentive. He didn't try to BS me with his beer knowledge, noting that he didn't know all that much about the beer on tap (but would be happy to pour me a sampler of anything I was curious about). On the other hand, it was readily apparent that the manager here (Laura) knew quite a bit about the beer selection, and so the bartender could fall back on her for any questions a patron might have (not that I had very many).

Didn't try the food here, but I was more than a bit tempted (but unfortunately, had a number of dining obligations I had to deal with already). Next time for sure...

This is a GREAT place, and is absolutely on my list of places I need to visit whenever I'm back in town.

 2,109 characters

Photo of Moon2Goddess
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I have been here for an acoustic set and recently went for the Goose Island Flight of Four. Convenient location on bus lines and in the general walking areas of uptown. Love the atmosphere, lively without being obnoxious, has an honest-earthy vibe to it. That the bathrooms are easy to spot and access doesn't hurt either! It is an older building with older fixtures and decor, but it works for a crowd who are more interested in their conversations and the company they keep than superficial crap. Very good food-healthy options that are organic, fresh and well prepared, nice menu. Their beer list is a respectable variety of local and sought after distributors, and it is exciting that they host release parties from time to time! Sat next to the reps from Goose Island who also passed out extra free stuff and gave me a few hints about what they are bringing to the Autumn Brew Review--SWEET! I will be watching their calender for upcoming events, cheers BLB!

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Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN
Place rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 42 ratings