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The Happy Gnome
Taps: 70 / Bottles: 300
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
$$$ - a bit pricey
[ Bar, Eatery ]
498 Selby Ave
phone: (651) 287-2018
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Probably my favorite restaurant of all time- the food is delicious, the beer selection is amazing and the place is cozy and relaxing.
My first trip there my fiance and I had exceptional service. Our waitress was one of the best. She even gave us each a free beer because a couple of our first selections weren't available anymore. I've had a couple visits where the service was so-so, but the experience of the Happy Gnome as a whole is always worth it.
They also host several beer dinners each month featuring different breweries and menus, as well as the occasional event. I attended Firkin Fest this past year, and it was very well run.
For an overall, well-rounded awesome place to spend an afternoon to eat and drink- the Happy Gnome is definitely the place.
10-17-2010 01:26:35 |
More by LittleBug31
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
The Happy Gnome is a really cool place with great atmosphere. The front of the building looks great, and is nearly covered in Virginia Creeper vine. The inside is large, clean, and attractive. Lots of wood, leather, a slat wood floor, various beer signage, a marble/wood bar, and great natural lighting. Current specials and beer events posted on a chalkboard. The beer garden out back looked pretty dope, but we didn't check it out. Apparently frequented by both brewers and those about to embark on the pedal pub that was parked out front.
Huge draft list with a very heavy emphasis on locals and Midwest regionals, maybe about half the selection, arranged roughly along broad style lines. Very diverse and seasonal, no filler here. Also a few nice Belgian and extra-regional choices. Taps lined up on both sides of the L shaped bar. The Brau Brothers Rubus was intense and served appropriately.
After an initial bump most likely due to a short busy surge, service was great. The waitress was really nice and just did a good job all around. No problem obtaining samples.
The menu was full of appealing items - but we were scheduled for an early dinner so it was best to take it easy. I went with a simple bowl of the wild rice soup, which was quite good. The small sliver of Mr. Lou's duck burger sampled was pretty tasty as well, and the accompanying fries didn't last long. Nice presentation, too.
08-29-2010 02:31:23 |
More by blackie
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
stopped in the Happy Gnome for lunch on a Saturday - the bar was steady but not busy and there were clearly some local brewers in, though i can't remember who.
The exterior of the building is beautiful - nice ivy walls and a really cool sign. The interior is open with a large bar and an outdoor terrace.
Service was spotty at first but she warmed up - samples were given and there was decent music being played.
The selection was quite nice - lots of locals (4-5 Surly taps, Brau Bros, Lift Bridge, Flat Earth), Rush River DIPA, strong seasonals from Victory, Great Divide, Deschutes, Goose Island, Boulevard, Rogue and on. I settled on the Brau Brothers Black Rubus but there was plenty of other stuff that i would have been more than happy to quaff. There was perhaps 70 total and the bottle specials on the board were close to store-prices.
The menu was strong - the duck burger with fries was massive and the fries were salted to the max. There were lots of other attractive items on the lunch menu.
The list of past beer dinners was quite impressive - i'm sure those would be pretty great at this place.
Definitely the best drinking venue in our recent trip to MSP - ahead of town hall.
08-24-2010 17:32:35 |
More by dirtylou
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
I went here a week and a half ago after the St. Paul Summer Beer Fest. We ducked out about an hour early to avoid the rush and decided to grab dinner at the Happy Gnome.
After sitting outside on the very large, spacious patio I was delighted to see the beer list. The bottled selection was incredible and a decent tap list too, which included, to my understanding, one dedicated cask at all times.
I finally decided on a Two Brothers Domaine DuPage as well as the Minnesota Game Burger, a bison-elk burger with bacon among other things.
After about ten minutes, the waitress came back to double-check that I ordered it without horseradish or blue cheese. I assured her I did.
After another ten minutes, our beers finally showed up. Another twenty and then came the burger.
The burger was incredible except that... well, it had blue cheese and for whatever reason, the bacon described on the menu was nowhere to be seen. Generally speaking I'm not too picky so I ate it, but when I pay $14 for a burger and wait 40 minutes for it, I like to assume it will come out the way I ordered it.
In short, the food was great, the atmosphere was incredible, and the beer selection was definitely excellent. However, I've regularly had better service at McDonald's than here. There was definitely quite a rush of people having just left the beer festival, but for the most part it wasn't busy until after the food had already come; when we arrived there were about as many servers as there were occupied tables.
I've worked as a server before, so I know that I'm not being unfair to our waitress. Perhaps the food order wasn't her fault, but the horrible waiting time (even for a beer or a refill of water) was ridiculous. Of course, as a former server I'd be willing to accept that perhaps she was new, having a bad day, or whatever the case may have been and would be more than willing to give The Happy Gnome a second shot.
07-02-2010 20:17:44 |
More by Phocion
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$$$
Been there many times. Great tap list. Good location.
Website could be better. Could keeep a taplist more current online.
A bit too trendy. Prices pretty bad. Not going there as much because of that. Going to the Muddy pig more than the Gnome these days, mainly because of price and more of a "beer bar" atmosphere at the Pig.
Anyway... Happy Gnome does have great beer, really good food, and a great location. If you're taking a girl out for dinner, it's the place to go in St. Paul if you care about beer and she doesn't.
If you're going out with the guys (or a girl who knows her beer)...check the taplist, grab a favorite if it's pouring, then go somewhere else for the rest of the night.
05-25-2010 03:49:16 |
More by caskstrength
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
A- Great bar, situated in a great up and coming beer hot spot in the Twin Cities. Nice L shaped bar (the best place to hang out here is definitely at the bar), good indoor seating, with tables to accommodate groups of people. Really great outdoor area, (although it was closed without any service the night I was there for this review).
Q- Great selection of monthly specials, revolving taps, local options, craft, and import, great prices on special items. A real solid joint.
S- Pretty knowledgeable staff, good respect for the beer.
F- NA (have heard mixed reviews, but can't review at this time, friends say some of the deserts are spectacular).
V- The value seems good to me, the specials, or beers of the month are the way to go, although some of the more obscure beers are higher in price, they do have a great selection. Great beer scene.
Every time I go to this bar, I wish that it was closer to me, but the location is certainly part of its charm...still doesn't mean that I wouldn't want it down the street from me...Cathedral Hill here I come...haha...
04-20-2010 05:23:29 |
More by mwagner1018
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$$
Have been here a couple of times now and have always found a beer that I have never had or sometimes never heard of when I go back. The staff is always friendly and knowledgable. Was able to try some darkness that they had apparently just pulled out a while back. Was a little dissappointed that I got to Firkin Fest late and the majority of the beer had run out. Will have to make sure I get there earlier next year. With the weather turning I am excitd to be able to sit out on the patio in the near future. Overall one of my favorite places in the cities.
03-22-2010 13:16:21 |
More by GopherNut
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Had been in MN on business trip/beer safari, and had been told to check out the Happy Gnome by a local. It was a great place. People and food were just as excellent as beer choice. Beers were first choice and matched well with glassware and serving temp. Surly Smoke and Surly 3 on tap. Nice! GI Nightstalker, Leinie's Big Eddie ("Awesome" surprise), Tyranena Rocky's Revenge, Fulton Sweet Child, RR Double Bubble...all matched up with very creative and tasty appetizers and main dishes. Sat at bar and had extra personal attention, a few extra tastes, decent conversation despite very busy Friday night crowd. Great neighborhood, but parking can be typically "in town" tight. Place is busy. But don't let anything put you off. This place is great with a great passion for beer and beer people. A+.
03-09-2010 02:19:50 |
More by BillRoth
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Have made a few trips here. Good overall atmosphere, small and a kind of classic pub vibe in what looks to be an old firehouse.
Great selection of beers on tap, for which there tap beer menu which can change daily. Good rotation of beers. Many more choices in bottles.
Overall good service, friendly and knowledgeable about the many beer choices.
The large selection of beers is paired with good to upscale unique food; from twists on pub classics to full out formal dinner.
Attended the Surly Beer Dinner here in the Firehouse Room upstairs, great setting for an event like this. The head chef understood the complexities of the beers and did a great job on pairing food with each different beer.
I will definitely be heading back again. Hopefully sooner than later.
03-03-2010 03:05:53 |
More by camp0474
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
Been here a couple times now. Great atmosphere, very nice style in a cool looking old firehouse building. I have not been out on the patio, but I have heard it is one of the best outdoor areas for a restaurant/bar in the Twin Cities area. Kegs get switched out quite frequently and there is always something new on tap. Went here for the Surly Beer Dinner last Tuesday and the food was amazing! Great pairings, the head chef really knows his stuff. Ordered a Copper ale from Boulder Brewing Company before the dinner and right when I got my pint the bartender came over and said they literally just changed the keg, so I actually got their Mojo Risin' IPA... He still charged me the price for the Copper Ale so that was pretty cool of him and it was a pint instead of a 10oz pour.
02-22-2010 00:23:24 |
More by herman77
The Happy Gnome in Saint Paul, MN