Hole in the Wall Review: Liquor Lyle’s

hole%20in%20the%20wall%20reviews.jpgMinnesotans like to drink, and there’s no shortage of watering holes in the Twin Cities. I frequent several of these on a regular basis. Some of my favorite bars in the cities are what I’d classify as hole-in-the-wall bars – of the variety that feature cozy atmospheres, cheaper drinks and a general sense that the place has been around for a while.

Some of these bars are legendary, others less well-known, but they all have one thing in common – good times.

My first hole in the wall review is for Liquor Lyles. Throughout the spring and summer, I’ll share some of my other favorites.

Liquor Lyle’s
2021 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis

The location can’t really be beat, right at the cusp of downtown. If you ask anyone that frequents Lyle’s what the best part of it is, you’ll probably hear the same answer – the happy hours. This legendary Twin Cities watering hole probably has more happy hour time during the day and night than just about any other. From 10am – 1pm, 3pm – 6pm and 9pm – 11pm, Lyle’s features 2 for 1’s on anything in the bar. Hard to beat that. If you show up after 9pm any night of the week, it becomes more difficult to find a place to sit – regulars know to get there a little early. The other trick is that the bar clock in Lyle’s is typically at least 10 minutes faster, so sneaking in a little before 9 can often score you 2 for 1’s right away.

Liquor Lyle's, warm MarchValue
Clearly, Lyle’s has good value during happy hour, but the drink prices here are not unreasonable even at other times of the day and night. Food is reasonably priced as well. I would rate the value at about average for around here.

Atmosphere/Decor
Pre-smoking ban, Lyle’s was a smoky place which many non-smokers avoided. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to breathe in the place. There are no windows in Lyle’s so whether it’s 10am or 10pm, it’s difficult to tell the difference (and that might not be such a bad thing if you’re taking advantage of the 10 am happy hour!). The decor is cozy and comfortable, with nice, if not a bit worn booths taking up most of the space. It’s pretty obvious Lyle’s has been around forever, but the atmosphere of the place is one of its strong suits.

Drinks
The drinks here are of average quality – and sometimes on the stronger side, depending on the bartender.

Service
It can get a little harried during happy hour, and servers can be hard to locate. But in general, the service at Lyle’s is good.

Food
I would classify the food at Lyle’s as bar food. That said, it’s probably on the higher end of bar food. I usually only get appetizers, and the fried items, such as cheese curds won’t disappoint. They aren’t the best or the worst curds in town, but they manage to satisfy hunger. My favorite are the nachos, with fresh jalapenos as a nice bonus (as opposed to pickeled) and a side of chili to boot. The burgers are also very good for a bar like this. In general, you can’t really go wrong with food here.

Other Extras
Lyle’s has some pool tables and darts in the back room which are usually occupied during the busier times.

Sports
While not known as a “sports bar” per se, Lyle’s is a great place to catch all the local teams action. Happy Hours are often extended for sporting events, including Vikings games in the fall. Like a lot of other bars in the area, Lyle’s recently upgraded their TV’s to mostly large, bright flat panel displays. They also have a wall projector showing the most popular game of the moment. Games that are available in high definition are shown that way, even on the big screen (unfortunately, not all bars have figured out that if they get some nice flat panel screens capable of HD, they should probably pony up for the HD feeds). Lyle’s is definitely one of my favorite places to catch a sporting event.

Overall
The crowd at Lyle’s is always a great mix of people from both the neighborhood and the larger surrounding area. Whether you belly up to the bar or get cozy in a booth, Lyle’s is a great place to down some beverages, grab some food and catch a game or just catch up with friends. The happy hour makes this place special and packs the people in.

3 Comments so far

  1. Wendy (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 8:26 pm

    Man, you forgot their horribly awesome jukebox!


  2. Erica M (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 8:35 am

    It wouldn’t have occurred to me to go there to watch a game. That’s good to know.


  3. Bill K (unregistered) on April 16th, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    I did forget the jukebox. It’s one of those internet jukeboxes that lots of places have now. Not as much character. An interesting feature is that it takes credit cards.



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