I will be rating drinks based on taste, value and atmosphere to determine the overall best place to grab a drink in Northfield, Minn.
My rail drink of choice is a gin and tonic, but Reunion’s ($2.50) is too strong and poorly mixed. I prefer their Moscow Mules which are a little more expensive ($4) but taste much better. If you go during college night on Thursdays, you need to be particularly extroverted as you have to stand the entire time and interact with a lot of people. The DJing is mediocre, and there are never quite enough people on the dance floor to make it feel comfortable, but it is a pretty classic upperclassmen experience.
El Tequila ★★★☆☆
I got one mango margarita blended and one pomegranate margarita on the rocks, neither of which tasted strongly of tequila or their indicated fruits. Fun for their size and novelty, but for $8 a marg, I’d prefer to go to Loon.
Carbone’s Pizzeria ★★★★★
Carbone’s two for one is hands down the best drink deal in Northfield. Their rail gin and tonic is solid, and they have a good beer selection on tap. I usually go for Surly Brewing Co.’s “Furious.” In addition to the spectacular deals, it’s god-tier vibes any night of the week. My only critique is that they don’t have Hamms.
Loon Liquors Distillery ★★★★☆
It’s not a hot take to say that Loon has the best-tasting cocktails in town. However, they also have some of the most expensive drinks in town, and they’ve gotten rid of their happy hour, which used to feature select $4 craft cocktails. Loon has a very limited and overpriced food selection, but also the best trivia in town. My personal favorites are the Bramble Patch ($8) and the Raspberry Balsamic Twist ($7). Once I played Yahtzee here with my mom, and it was a good time.
The HideAway Coffeehouse and Wine Bar ★★☆☆☆
I ordered an overpriced glass of mulled wine ($8). The drink was good, but I found myself resenting the price to the point where I didn’t enjoy it as much anymore. HideAway also consistently has the rudest customer service I’ve experienced in Northfield. They were bending my ID and asking weird questions. Bad vibes.
Imminent Brewing ★★★★☆
Imminent has a great atmosphere and craft beer that is fairly priced ($5-ish), plus a rotation of tasty food trucks. Sometimes the taproom is too busy, especially when bands are playing, but I’ve come when they’re not busy and they gave free tasters, which is major points. Their Gateway Cream Ale is my favorite. I saw my professor here once when she said she was grading finals. WHERE IS RANDY CLAY I NEVER SEE HIM.
Tanzenwald Brewing Company ★★★★☆
I ordered a Kilonova Dark Saison ($5-ish). Tanzenwald offers a more eccentric selection of beers than their competition at Imminent Brewing. They also have great cabbage pancakes and sweet potato fries as well as generous servings of mac ’n cheese which you can pilfer when your friend orders it. Their live music is not nearly as good as Imminent’s, but overall Tanzenwald has great beer and wholesome cozy vibes.
Froggy Bottoms River Pub ★☆☆☆☆
And out of its ashes, Reunion was born.
The Contented Cow ★☆☆☆☆
I ordered a Pimms. At a bar that claims to be a British pub, I was disturbed when they served me straight Pimms on the rocks with 7-Up for a kickback. A classic Pimms is mixed with lemonade, mint, cucumber and fruit. The vibe was also off on this Wednesday evening – only two groups including myself were there, and I felt like the bartender was watching us. My friend got a $6 cream ale that was far too creamy.
The Eagles Club ☆☆☆☆☆
I am afraid to set foot on the premises, but that’s probably exactly what the townies want.