Is there anything more indicative of a fun, cheap dive bar than all day two-for-ones? To kick off our new Thrifty Adventures series I decided I’d visit every bar in Minneapolis that boasts this sudsy special and let you know whether it’s worth the hangover.
I moved to Uptown two years ago, but I didn’t fill out an official change of address until last year (to keep my car insurance rates at the low prices that my parent’s suburban address afforded me). After my poor old Honda’s brakes went out on the 35W bridge, I decided to start reading my own mail instead of just calling ma and asking her to read it to me. One of the first envelopes I got was a packet of coupons addressed to the Beck Family. The most useful of all of these was a certificate for a free large pizza from Dulono’s.
When I was a teenager I would stop by Dulono’s every few months. It was a place I could hang out with my friends and their parents (at two separate tables, of course) and it was well known for the Wednesday night bluegrass performances, which me and the girls would do goofy polka dances and twists to. There were also the infamous motorcycle congregations on the first Thursday of every month that would pack the the Lyn-Lake parking lots with the roar of exhaust pipes. Other than that, there was nothing I really remembered about Dulono’s, so I was eager to revisit.
With free large pizza as an incentive, I convinced my girlfriend to walk over there with me after work on one of those busy springtime Friday nights. The place was sparse inside, which was a relief compared to the overcrowded Uptown streets. There was a big table of black-clad urban nerds from the game store down the block, a few hipster party guys in Hawaiian shirts playing pool, and a variety of older married couples getting their weekly date nights over and done with.
The atmosphere was really cool and funky. There are old Tiffany styled lamps on the ceiling, christmas light strings in the window, unfinished wood tables that look like they were stolen from a summer camp, and the same old stage I remember from 2006. The soundtrack was very cool and agreeable with a lot of David Bowie and some Tom Waits, and the Limp Bizkit cover of Faith which I had never heard before and was hilarious.
I ordered a Goose Island IPA on tap and she ordered a Bell’s Two Hearted tallboy. Fortunately they bring them out one at a time so your second beer isn’t warm by the time you crack it. They also allow you to share 2-4-1s, so lightweights and mooches of the world can rejoice. The beers were a little pricey ($7.75) but you get two and they also had PBR cans available for the broke-assed.
We used the coupon to get the pizza (despite being very much expired) and also ordered the cheddar broccoli bites. The pizza was great: thin crust that’s cracker crisp like a flatbread with nice airy pockets and toppings to the edge cut into squares, not too much sauce or too sweet. The bites were cubed broccoli stalks with plenty of cheese and just enough breading to hold it together in a nice little triangle.
We put half the pizza in a box with a couple of the bites so we could save room for more beer. We split the Sierra Nevada Nooner, which is an amazing pilsner on tap with plenty of bubbles that lasted until the drink was finished.
There was one server and one bartender working, so service was a little slow but we could tell it was because the larger table was giving them a hard time, it got a lot faster once they got their checks. However, I did witness an older guy come in with a helmet and sit down around 12:30 who waited for a long time to get greeted and ended up walking out in a huff without ordering anything. There was also a family with little children there running around with sugar highs past 1AM, which was a little disconcerting even if it wasn’t a school night.
The bathroom had one urinal and one stall, and when I used it two other guys rushed in at the same time and one guy just stood there in the corner kind of dumbstruck.
On the way out we checked out the game room. There was a single pool table that had been occupied the whole night, darts, pull tabs, and a hallway in the back with plenty of pinball tables. It seemed like you’d need to get there early if you wanted to play games on a busy night, but it’s great to have the option during the day.
At the end of the night we paid about $30 before tip for six quality beers and the broccoli bites (the pizza was free, remember?). Although I wouldn’t call that overly expensive, it’s still a little more than I was expecting for a place with a reputation for being a biker bar. But just like being a biker has changed from an outlaw lifestyle to a retired person’s hobby, the concept of what a biker bar can be has also changed significantly.
NOTES: Dulono’s doesn’t do 2-4-1s during shows or during the first Thursday. It’s much more likely to be crowded during those events so the casual atmosphere I experienced may be subject to change. There is a lunch buffet that runs from 11:30 -2PM and pizza by the slice from 11PM-3AM. Dulono’s also has delivery and something called Boom Boom sauce that comes with the onion rings that I didn’t get to try but thoroughly enjoyed reading.
607 W Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
612 827 1726