I have a good friend who used to live in East Bloomington. She would always tell me about the neighborhood dive bar that was tucked away in her quiet neighborhood, and often overlooked. I would hear about the crazy nights that took place and the homey atmosphere that existed. Most people haven’t heard of it, much less know where to find it, but to those that know about Bloomington’s little secret, its a great time to be had.
A friend and I were in Bloomington on St. Patrick’s Day, and decided to venture off the beaten path from the usual shenanigans that accompany a bar like the Liffey, or McGovern’s on St. Pat’s Day. We decided it was the perfect opportunity to check out the Shantytown Bar. It’s nestled off the beaten path near 86th and Pilsbury and if you didn’t know where you were headed, you may miss it. After pulling into the parking lot and seeing the bright glowing sign, that reminds you of the age of diners and 60’s Corvettes, we knew we were in for a treat.
When you enter the bar through an age old screen door, it feels like you are walking into a place shrouded in mystery, where you just don’t quite know what to expect on the other side. The door opens and you’re transported into a cozy nook where good music is playing, the bartenders are laughing, and food is slinging. Bartenders greet you with humor and sarcasm and it feels like the familiar place you’ve visited a hundred times.
The menu is simple but with good variety. Shantytown is known for it’s burgers but other options are available from salads to wings.
The bartender informed us Monday’s were .50 wing night at Shantytown. I was craving wings and decided to see how they stacked up. Shantytown offers your normal standards for wing flavors: plain, buffalo, bbq, cajun, or teriyaki. I chose to go with the bbq and teriyaki. My friend went with the buffalo.
The wings came out hot and steaming and were large and juicy. The flavor was good and not too overpowering. The bbq had just a slight kick that you would expect from a good homemade sauce. My friend was equally satisfied with the buffalo wings.
One of the cool gems about Shantytown is that when you order a mixed drink, you get a lot of bang for your buck and for cheap. Monday’s are usually 2-4-1 from 8pm-close but because of the holiday they were offering $2 rails and taps. I ordered 2 whiskey / 7ups and they transported me back to the days of college bars and all you can drink nights. If you order a mixed drink, expect about 80% booze and a splash of whatever your mix of choice is. The tap list is very simple and what you would expect at a small bar. The usual offenders (Mich, Bud etc) with a tap line of Honey Weiss and Summit EPA to add a little craft into the mix.
After talking with the bartender, she said Saturday’s are karaoke nights and they draw quite the diverse crowd of “entertainers.” If you’re looking for a great neighborhood bar to try out your vocals and fit in with talents of all ranges, then Shantytown is the place to be.
Whoever has said Bloomington has no nightlife, has obviously never been to Shantytown.
Check out the Shantytown review on Heavy Table: http://heavytable.com/shantytown-in-bloomington-mn/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shantytown-Bar-Grill/57795833634