Shaped like a steeple, guts like a sports bar.
As with many of its dive bar and neighborhood pub neighbors, the Moose Bar & Grill takes advantage of the bar-friendly Northeast neighborhood of Minneapolis to serve as a spacious gathering place for locals, complete with all manner of Minneapolis dive bar tradition. There’s weekly karaoke, there are meat raffles, there are Bingo nights, there are pulltabs. The Moose feels like in a sense the sum total of all drinking traditions in the city, albeit less a dive bar and more a classic neighborhood bar.
Across the street from dive bar slash diner, Spring Street Tavern, the Moose offers a sort of one-two punch to the area. Where Spring Street is the lowkey, open early for breakfast diner straddling the line of dive bar, The Moose is a little bit less divided. This is a class neighborhood bar with the food to match and the theme nights to provide a rotating reason to visit. Outside, the building resembles some kind of brick cathedral to sports bars, a tall entry foyer flanked by two single story wings. The sign out front proclaims all manner of charitable gambling available inside, a Minneapolis dive bar staple.
The bar inside feels a little like a classic sports bar slash chicken wing restaurant crossed with some of the best elements of a dive bar. Christmas lights are strung throughout to add a sort of dive bar-friendly glow to the space, wood paneling crawling the walls that surround the area before giving way to red paint and drop ceiling tiles. Semi-regular karaoke takes place a few steps from the front door, the stage area of sorts supported on either side by dueling bars that provide multiple options to take in the sight of semi-drunk locals try their hand at 90s boy band songs.
The area to the right of the entrance includes a short bar and a handful of tall tables, all ringed with bar neon and, of course, a full-size hammerhead shark hung from one wall. The setup will feel familiar to anyone who has ever set foot in a sports bar and it is replicated in a way across the building with another ringed bar sitting as an island in a larger room surrounded by tall tables and low booths. Though the signage isn’t necessarily vintage, it does provide some visual interest, a carved moose head complementing the hammerhead shark a few feet away.
Though it would be insulting to compare the Moose to a BW3, the visual similarities do exist, The Moose serving as what a local and better version of a BW3 might look like unchained from corporate responsibility. There is ample space and the rotating threat of a meat raffle around the corner to provide a little neighborhood liveliness to the drinking rather than the sterile atmosphere that can sometimes plague a chain restaurant. This is certainly no chain, instead a neighborhood staple in a part of town ripe with options, making it a catch-all option for late night food, or not as late night Bingo, whatever the day requires.