Bryant-Lake Bowl

BA SCORE
92
outstanding

42 Ratings
Bryant-Lake BowlBryant-Lake Bowl
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

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

(612) 825-3737 | map
bryantlakebowl.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by tavernjef

PLACE STATS
Score:
92
Ratings:
42
Reviews:
26
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
5.74%
 
 
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Ratings: 42 |  Reviews: 26
Photo of Alpar
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of nadiashebang
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

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.

 454 characters

Photo of mattmarka1
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

2-26-04
Back before he added BLB to the Beerfly Database, tavernjef and I discussed this, and he said, "does it belong? After all, it's a bowling alley." Well, he answered his own question when he added it, it is and it isn't, it was once, it still is, and it will never be just that again.

There are still signs of BLB's past, like the Grain Belt and Pabst signs outside, but that will never change, despite the makeover that Kim Bartman gave it over a decade ago. Now, it's easier to say what the BLB isn't, rather than what it IS. As for me, up until recently, I could say that I've done everything you could do there but drink wine and bowl. Then, I tried to bowl, and, really, let's forget about that. What have I done? Seen plays, monologues, comedy, films, heard jazz, pop, rock, ate a bunch, and drank aplenty.

The staff is almost uniformly great, and I've rarely met a dud in that department. Consider yourself lucky if you're at the bar, and get Dan at your service. The bar features only wine, and plenty of beer, no liquor, but we care about the beer, and what beer! No huge conglomo-brews, lots of locals, the best of America's micros, always some Bell's and Belgians, lambics, and even gueze, and every time I visit a surprise of two. Something always changes, among the 24 taps, and plenty of variety among the bottled selection.

The food menu is eclectic, and always good, ranging from vegan to bison, and fish and more, and ranging inexpensively in price.

Best yet, nestled deep in the Hipster Central neighborhood of Uptown Minneapolis, it really is a great meeting place for all manner of folk. Be ye white or black, rich or poor, gay or straight, hip or square, upwardly mobile or working-class stiff, it doesn't matter, as long as you like good beer or wine ...or not! I once saw Dan deal with a smelly ragamuffin looking for Bud, and he presented the olfactorily-offensive man with a bottle of PBR and a glass and
I watched the man pour it out contemplatively and slowly savor it from the glass. Now, that's a good beer bar, where even the lowliest can seem like a connoisseur!

...7-22-05, update
On my latest visit, last night, I had the pleasure of speaking to Dan, who still rocks the bar. Highlights among the tap beers included rogue Brutal Bitter, Delirium Tremens, Mojo IPA, Two Hearted, and others..had my first Double Diamond...alcohol has been added, for those who need their Cosmos and double scotches, as well as sidewalk seating for the nicotine-addicted. Still highly recommended.

 2,536 characters

Photo of TooGood
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of HopliteMpls612
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

http://pintsizedrevelations.blogspot.com/

 2,508 characters

Photo of truthbrew
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A fun place to get a great beer. While this place can be crowded, loud, and smokey, their generally excellent service paired with bowling and a large selection or beers (at least for the TC area) put this near the top of places to go. Generally it is pretty busy, but tables turn over pretty quickly. Food has also been excellent, though on theatre nights it can be a little slow so order right away.

When visited in Dec-03 they had Bell's Two Hearted, SN Celebration Ale, Bell's Batch 6000, Anchor Porter, etc... on TAP, not even mentioning a large assortment of bottled beer (trappist ales, Cantillon, etc...). They run a nice happy hour after work and street parking is generally available and free after 6pm.

 715 characters

Photo of mentor
4.43/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Wow. This is about the coolest place I've ever visited. It's a pub with bowling in the back and a threater through a side door. The establishment is located south and west of downtown Minneapolis, not far from 35W. Parking was difficult to find...I wound up parking in the lot of the gas-station next dor (with permission from the attendant). I went in expecting bowling lanes with a bar that offered crummy beers and fried grease as food. Instead, I walked into a small dining area with a bar to the left. Through the dining area is a host table (could be for seating, I didn't ask for a table) that opened up a bowling lane for me and directed me to the rental shoes. The establishment has a comforatble and rustic big-city feel about it...not granola...not yuppy...just...down to earth. Creative...positive. Relaxing.

The bar had perhaps 20 beers on tap, with so many good offerings that I was disturb I wouldn't get to try everything I had an interest to try. Although Prima Pils was available on tap, I went for the Bell's Two-Hearted. It's just such a fantastic beer I have to have it whenever I get the opportunity.

Anyway, I met up with a couple other BAs, we got a lane, and we bowled a couple games. While we were playing, I noticed people entering a door on the other side of the bowling alley. Apparently, they had tickets to the show in the theater that was through the door. Also, while I didn't order any food there, I did have a good look at some of the dishes that were being served up and they looked quite tasty. I didn't look at the menu, but I wouldn't be surprised if they offered organic dishes. This place is really cool.

 1,651 characters

Photo of blackdog1101
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I went to the Bryant Lake Bowl for a couple hours tonight, first time there. What a hoot. I sat at the bar with a fellow whos wife was hosting the "Bowling for Boobs" event to raise money for breast cancer awareness. Very pleasant guy, great cause. Had several great beers on tap; Surly Abrasive Ale, Bells Oberon, Great Divide Hades, and Founder Breakfast Stout. They probably had 12 other raft beers on tap, and lots more in bottles. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the place. Most highly recommended!

 506 characters

Photo of corcoranjc
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Timing is everything for me in regards to the Bryant Lake Bowl. I was there yesterday afternoon to try my first KBS, and it was perfect. Good music playing, bustling but not too crowded...I got a spot in their parking lot...just the right amount of sun coming through the windows and people talking quietly and reading in the bar. The bar btw is gorgeous...old, smooth wood. Very warm and inviting.

However, like I said, timing is everything, and I always avoid coming to the BLB on Friday and Saturday nights. It's just too busy and crowded during these times for me. Of course, most of uptown is too much for me to handle on the weekends.

I love that the place has bowling, a good bar, and decent food. Really nice, and really cool. Definitely check it out. Also, they are owned by the company/org that runs Barbette and The Red Stag (also both high quality places) and they participate in the 'cheap date night' activities....really great deals to be had on these nights if you can swing it.

 997 characters

Photo of Moon2Goddess
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
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!

 963 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is an aptly named establishment, since it is just off of the corner of Bryant & Lake Streets. Very inspired!

Coming through the door, I was absolutely flabbergasted that Mini-Apple-Us gets to have something like this. The place seems like a time warp to the 1950's, but with good beer. The restaurant tables are made to look like bowling alleys and the wood panelling and star-patterned acoustic tiles are probably original. The back bar has a really Roy Lichtestein-ian looking mural of a bowling ball and flying pins. Why "Bowl" in their name and the emphasis on bowling as a decorative theme? Howzabout a fully-functional 8-lane bowling alley all of the way aft, champ? Yowza!

The lavatories are on the right, headed aft, and hanging above the twin doorways are a pair of chalkboards. The left announces the upcoming shows in the theatre (!) and the right has the draft list of ~ 19 taps, all rockin', plus the daily specials. The theatre is an 85-seat theatre, complete with stage, off to the left of the bowling alley.

I'm coming back!

 1,055 characters

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of jvf28
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Josholson666
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Photo of ddavison
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of jakemn91
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Pug
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of John_M
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
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 TastyTaste
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Kind of a hole in the wall place, right on Lake Street, so it's fairly easy to find. Visited on a Sunday night, a fairly small bar, not too much seating, but an awesome selection of beer. There is maybe 20 tables, with a bowling area in back. Quite a few taps that you won't see many other places in the metro area, including Rogue, Sierra Nevada, regionals, micros, several Belgians. I did not have time to try the food, but I glanced at a menu and it looked reasonable. A small, yet friendly looking place, I wish I could have spent more time here.

 550 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Hipster Heaven.

Or at least it was, about 5 years ago or so. Why? Because the place has character. Housed in a bowling alley (and bowling, by the way, has become cool again too), this place has a lot of charm. When you're at the bar, you will most likely have to sit at one of the little tables alongside the windows or sit at the bar. There is a lot of soft, dramatic lighting and wood paneling.

The service is great. Every time I've been here I've had a friendly server who was very accomodating.

The tap lines are pretty impressive (especially for a bowling alley). There are at least 20 different beers on tap, and most of the time, you can get at least one or two rarities. All of the time, they support local domestic microbreweries, and it's almost certain you will find Summit, James Page, Bell's, etc... in addition to some smaller breweries as well. There are also some Belgian style beers in bottles.

Although the selection is not that impressive, it is constantly rotating. Every couple of months, a couple new beers will rotate through.

Definitely give this place a shot. You'll be charmed by it.

 1,126 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

This multiplex of fun has it all from live music, small one man plays, and of course bowling. Oh yeah some good beers to choose from as well. One of the best places to bowl and enjoy an actual Belgian beer. You just don't see that at any other bowling alleys, ever. At least not in my experience. Ya bowl, ya drink, ya eat, its great, stay late for some of the bands or small plays being put on.
I like going there to bowl and drink, some of the music bores me a little, I can only take so many garage bands who make there CD's from there Mac's, but every once in awhile you get some real kickin' - groovin' music. The food is pretty good as well.

Choices of beers run through a small assortment of micros such as the Bell's line with some being on tap, along with Summit, Anchor, and Anderson Valley. A small selection of stouts and porters, all varying from the UK, Germany, and the US. A few Mexican beers and some marcos and then the Belgians of just over a dozen lambics, dubbles, and whites to choose from. Wow. They beat out alot of small town liquor stores. Albiet the service their can really linger depending on how busy the place is, but they're always nice and quite interesting to talk with.
A pleasure to visit for something a little different from the ordinary bar/pub scene. Check out the website, it has all you need to know.

 1,348 characters

Photo of Taybeh
4.14/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

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Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, MN
4.18 out of 5 based on 42 ratings.
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