Greg and PZ’s Excellent Party


Thanks to all the input from so many people on and off blogs, and following a number of phone calls and further research, the exact location, time, and other details of PZ and Greg’s Excellent Party have been determined. Here is the post providing all the details.

As part of the Millionth Comment Madness Meetup, whereby Scienceblog Dot Com bloggers all around the world will Meet the Readers at various locations all within the same approximate time span, PZ Myers and I have decided to combine our efforts. We have a time, we have day, and we have a list of possible locations. Have a look at the list and help us narrow it down!

I’ll take your suggestions here or by email, and a committee will be asked to make the final venue selection.

The date of the event will be September 18th, Thursday, at 7:00 Central Time. The place will be somewhere in the Twin Cities. Many, many suggestions have been made. Here, I’ll list the ones I know about and in a few cases make a comment or two.

Minneapolis Locations:

The first location I’ll mention is the Campus Club at the University (Coffman Union, East Bank). Rick Schauer has suggested this venue and offered to buy us free beer!!!! Hard to resist. PZ and I are not sure if the University is ready for this group, especially owing to certain sensitivities, but it certainly should remain in the running.

Grumpy’s … a neighborhood bar in Northeast. I don’t think I’ve been there.

The Black Forest Inn.
This is on Eat Street, in my favorite neighorhood of Minneapolis. If we picked the black forest, we would arrange to reserve their party room and/or outside area (both, likely, because who knows about the weather).

This is the only bar in Minneapolis where their policy is to NOT spackle over bullet holes in the walls, so that’s kinda cool. Reasonably good beer, German food.

Azia. For various reasons, this is one of my favorite places in Minneapolis. I was a regular customer from the day they opened until the day I moved more than a few blocks away (and of course I still go there). This is where Amanda and I had our first date! (Pre-date, really.) Back in the day, pre-Amanda, Julia and I used to walk to Azia almost every Saturday for pot stickers and Pad Thai. I have more fond memories of this or that evening with one or another close friend drinking a couple bottles of wine from Azia’s excellent list and solving various problems of the most global or the most personal nature.

Oh, and I have a funny story or two. But not now, likely not ever…

Anyway, Azia on a Thurday night might be crowded, but they do have a “catepillar lounge” that may be reservable. I’ll look into it.

This is not the local neighborhood bar. The food is outstanding. Linked to a sushi bar as well.

The Kitty Cat Klub, home of the Minneapolis Anarchists. Or what’s left of them. This is sometimes the venue for the Bell Muesum’s Cafe Scientifique. It is also where PZ and I had our first date.. er.. Beer. Only as I remember I didn’t have a beer. Anyway, it’s a cool place and might be just right.

The Town Hall
… this was a weekly venue for me at one point in my life, but then the people who tended to go there each week shifted from dear friends to very annoying nits so I stopped going (sorry if any of you nits are reading this, but hey, what can I say…).

I have a funny story about this place. Well, actually, I have a dozen funny stories, but just one for now:

I had a good friend and colleague from a foreign land visiting, and he was a guest of honor, major speaker at an event, and so on. He’s a major dude, so it is normal for him to be entertained by Prime Ministers and Queens and so on, but he was happy to come to our humble diggs, give a few talks, and hang out for a while. But this was a big deal for us, so we had an itinerary and everything. I rented out the back room of the Town Hall to have my colleague spend some time in a casual setting with graduate students and few beers. So the itinerary said something like

“7:00 – Meeting and Discussion at Town Hall”

So, when it came time to go to the Town Hall, he and I headed off on foot with a couple of other folks, as the bar was well within walking distance. As we approached, my friend got kind of a funny look on his face … first confused, then amused. Finally, as we were walking into the bar, he turned to me smiling and said “Ah … the ‘Town Hall’ is a tavern… I was rather impressed that your Mayor worked so late in the evening. Now I’m relieved to just sit and have a beer!”

Anyway, the Town Hall should remain on the short list UNLESS there is a Twins Game in town that evening. Excellent beer selection, good food, but they should be admonished for taking their calamari off the menu. Shame.

The Local. This is where a local Pharyngulfest happened last winter in association with the Atheist Convention. It is a fine place, but it is broken up into these smallish cozy units that makes it hard to have a group larger than six, though I suppose we could subdivide. This is right in downtown, so you’d be parking in a ramp.

Great beer choice, I’ve heard the food is good.

The Bryant Lake Bowl. This is good, but not a great venue for a largish group unless we rent the theatre in the back, and then we’d be in a theatre. The theatre comes with one or two waitrons who will bring us beer and we could put on a show, but maybe not….

The Bulldog, in near-Northeast on Hennepin. I do not know this place. Supposed to have a great tap beer selection.

Saint Paul:

O’Gara’s. Never heard of it, but it looks nice on the web site.

The Terrace in Saint Paul has been suggested, but I’m wondering if it is too fancy for us. Also, it could rain. And it is hard to get large contiguous groups there.

Sweeney’s on Dale in St. Paul. Never been there.

The Muddy Pig, neighborhood bistron in St. Paul (Selby-Dale). Don’t know it.

Patrick McGovern’s Pub … Even though this place is in Saint Paul, I’ve been there and it is OK. Large, somewhat noisy brew-house type bar. Lots of character. I have a funny story about this place, but I think I’ll reserve it for off-blog as it involves certain subjects.

Mancini’s… I dunno. Look at the web site. Don’t know this place. Bad feeling (for this event … looks like a great place to get S&M).

Inner Ring Suburbs:

The Mermaid. This is a strange one, but possibly a good one, located in Mounds View near Fridley. I’ve never been there but I used to live down the block. Mike has suggested this location and he knows what he’s talking about, so we should have a close look.

Barley John’s Brew Pub has been suggested. I love this rather obscure resturant/bar! (Used to live across the street from it). But it is small, too small for this group. But I want to mention it because I highly recommend both their beer and their food.


  1. #1 Ghost of Minnesota
    September 1, 2008

    If I remember correctly, alcohol is prohibited on the U of M campus. Might make Coffman Union an unpopular choice.

  2. #2 Jeff
    September 1, 2008

    Town Hall Brewery FTW!

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    September 1, 2008

    Ghost: That is not true. You can have hooch on campus, you just need to fill out a LOT of forms and get them signed by people who won’t sign them. But anyway, the Campus Club is a bar run by the U.

  4. #4 Ghost of Minnesota
    September 1, 2008

    Oh, so there actually is a Campus Club. This is the first I’ve heard of it. When your link went to the University of Texas, I assumed it was a joke.

    It’s actually a pretty cool idea. Maybe I’ll join.

  5. #5 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 1, 2008

    Now that I think about it, we should probably scratch The Mermaid. It would be convenient for me, but then it is a bit out of the way.

    The problem that I have with Town Hall is the parking, as with the bars in both Downtowns (Mpls and St Paul, and even the bar at Coffman Union has a parking issue.) The mass transit from Mounds View is pretty much non-existent after rush hour is over. Budget cuts have been rough on mass transit to us minor suburbanites.

    Sweeney’s has the best parking situation, but the problem is that if the weather is not ideal for an outdoor party, the venue gets crowded. We would also need to make sure that there isn’t a DFL fundraiser there that night. (I have had a few first dates there, too.)

    The Muddy Pig is just down the street from Sweeney’s and the beer menu is fantastic. It can be kind of small, but has a great atmosphere.

    I would be open to learning more about Grumpy’s in NE Minneapoiis.

  6. #6 Stephanie Z
    September 1, 2008

    My vote goes to any place where we can get a separate area–party room, whatever–where they can keep the music low. My biggest problem with the Local was not the seating (okay, I had one) but the sound level. If we won’t all be expelled, I vote for the Campus Club.

    Mike, I think we can arrange something so parking is less annoying for you.

  7. #7 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    September 2, 2008

    With the way that the cops have been acting in St. Paul, I would rather have it in Minneapolis. But don’t let that get out; I have political connections in St. Paul that would shun me if they read this blog.

    Stephanie – maybe I could park at your place and ride with you and Ben, or perhaps Greg and I can car-pool.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    September 2, 2008

    Mike: We’ll work something out with the transport, don’t worry about that. Stephanie, I totally agree on the sound level issue.

    I fixed the campus club link (who knew there would be two? … I wasn’t really paying attention)

  9. #9 Paul
    September 2, 2008

    I like the Bulldog, I have been there before and its a great setting.

  10. #10 SplendidMonkey
    September 2, 2008

    I suggested the Bulldog on PZ’s blog. Some of the other suggestions are great too, but the Bulldog does have a great party wing – I call it a wing because it’s not a separate room with no windows, it’s like a separate bar on one end that will easily seat 50-60. You’ll love the Fennel Tots 🙂

  11. #11 SplendidMonkey
    September 2, 2008

    But then again, nothing beats a tall Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier at the Black Forest.

  12. #12 asad
    September 2, 2008

    I suggested Town Hall over at Pharyngula and would like to second it here. Azia is excellent (and their food is really fantastic), but my only complaint is that the lighting is pretty low, and as we will surely be an excellent-looking bunch, that would be quite the shame. Dark is fine for a romantic dinner but a little weird for a group gathering.

    IIRC there is a parking ramp in the Seven Corners area, maybe a block from Town Hall. And the Twins are on a road trip that week, so no game crowds.

    I would be interested in the Bulldog NE as well. I live very close to the other Bulldog in Uptown and they have good food and a great beer selection.

  13. #13 Lorax
    September 2, 2008

    I vote for Grumpy’s. The write up is completely false (unless there’s another Grumpys, the one I suggested is North of St. Paul in Roseville at the County Rd C2 and Snelling junction). The food is great, sandwiches, burgers, oven baked pizzas, etc. Most importantly the beer is outstanding, 25oz Surly’s on tap is to die for. Hmm, maybe not die for, but definitely enjoy.

  14. #14 Stephanie Z
    September 2, 2008

    There are at least three Grumpy’s, one of which I didn’t know about before this discussion started. The third is about four blocks from Town Hall on Washington.

  15. #15 SteadyEddy
    September 2, 2008

    CMU, Town Hall, Sweeneys get my nod (in that order).

  16. #16 asad
    September 2, 2008

    Grumpy’s Locations.

    Apparently the Grumpy’s Northeast location has no kitchen, so that’s out. The Downtown location claims to have a huge parking lot, and is much more convenient for those taking transit than anything in Roseville.

  17. #17 Stephanie Z
    September 2, 2008

    However, the downtown Grumpy’s is loud.

  18. #18 asad
    September 2, 2008

    @ Stephanie Z:
    Ah, I didn’t realize that. I’ve never been there myself.

  19. #19 Eisnel
    September 2, 2008

    O’Gara’s has a large bar (divided into three or four large sections), including a large section that they often reserve for big parties (small dance area attached). It would be good for such an event. After I attended a Minnesota RollerGirls game, they urged everyone to go to O’Gara’s for the afterparty, and it had no problem fitting both the RollerGirls contingent and a separate private party that was already occupying the aforementioned section. They also have a separate restaurant, and a medium-sized concert venue in the back. The concert venue is completely separate from the bar, but it does have its own bar. However, it’s obviously made for bands and a standing crowd, unlike the bar which has lots of tables (and food).

    Mancini’s is a restaurant and a bar. A bit on the fancy side, good lobster and steak. The bar is dark, and you’ll think you’ve walked into a Godfather film. Geeks and skeptics would probably get strange looks.

  20. #20 JKessler
    September 2, 2008

    The Local does have a private party room, plus surface parking right behind the building. Being centrally located it gets my vote.

  21. #21 Justin Chase
    September 2, 2008

    Town Hall Brewery!

  22. #22 Emily C
    September 3, 2008

    Town Hall would be cool if it were possible to reserve something.

    I’ve heard the Campus Club is nice, and it would be interesting for an undergrad underling like myself to see it.

    The Muddy Pig is a great pub (Hoegaarden [sp?] on tap!), but not right for this event, unless they have a hidden room to reserve.

  23. #23 Emily C
    September 3, 2008

    Oh, and the BullDog also has good beer selection!