Duluth’s rising bar scene has attracted visitors worldwide. Situated on the shores of Lake Superior, the city boasts a number of breweries and distilleries experimenting with the lake’s fresh water, and the lounges and bars supporting these local producers are plenty. From beer pubs to speakeasies, the city is rich in options, so we’ve rounded up the best bars for your next night out in Duluth.
Inspired by Lake Superior and northern Minnesota’s natural world, Vikre’s spirits are one of a kind. Specializing in gin, aquavit, and whiskey, the distillery’s rotating menu offers both simple tasting flights and carefully crafted cocktails. Take a free tour to observe the spirits’ production process, or play board games in the cozy lounge. There may even be live folk music depending on the evening, giving the space that perfect “up north” vibe.
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Located in Duluth’s old city hall prison, this speakeasy feels like a step back in time. In the heart of a city known for its prohibition bootleggers, Rathskeller embraces Duluth’s fascinating history. Sip on a bourbon from their outstanding whiskey selection, or order one of their 13 carefully selected taps. Easily spooked? You may want to avoid the underground bar. Multiple staff and customers have reported paranormal sightings in the eerie space.
Black Water Lounge
Bar, Restaurant, Japanese, Italian, American, $$$
Head to Black Water Lounge for the best cocktails in town. Voted best martini bar in Minnesota, the lounge offers an extensive dinner menu, quality service, and live music most days of the week. Belly up to watch the bartenders work their magic, or grab a table to enjoy some of the best sushi in town.
Red Herring Lounge
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Red Herring has made a name for itself by hosting some of the north’s best entertainment. The music-centered neighborhood bar is known for its artsy vibe and record label owner. Plus, it has the best weekly specials in town. Five dollar appetizers and half priced wine? Who can say no to that. Rumor has it the venue may be adding a recording studio to its lower level, making it a gathering point for local musicians and music enthusiasts alike.
Bent Paddle Brewery
Looking for the best beer in Minnesota? Head to Bent Paddle. Brewed with Lake Superior’s unique water, their recipes are fresh, balanced, and inventive. The brewpub’s old warehouse atmosphere furnishes the perfect drinking environment, and its neighborhood brings the perfect community; art studios, craft workshops, and foodie favorites sit within walking distance. Bent Paddle partners with the nearby OMC smokehouse, offering delivery of their famous beef brisket and jalapeño grits all night long. Barbecue and beer? Sounds like the perfect evening to us.