Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge
Taps: 12 / Bottles: 50
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 49 | Reviews: 49
4.33/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Had an excellent couple of brews here couple with the same quality service, food, and music. Lights were a bit bright, but other wise great setting. Waitress had a great attitude, fast, and helpful with food. Didn’t speak much of beer. Food was exemplarary though a touch pricey. Beers were good and of good value; although, the draft selection was weighted towards Belgians and IPAs. Bottle selections are similar; however, there are some pale lagers, wheat brews, and some dark, rich choices. I’ll return someday. Was a perfect celebration for the renewal of my passport!
08-02-2012 22:54:23 | More by drpimento
4.35/5 rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Biases aside. This place should be included in your Twin Cities itinerary. Sure, feloniousmonk set me up proper during my visit here. But that matters naught (though it was utmostly appreciated). Well, on second thought, I guess it does matter, just not in terms of the rankings I will give this place.
I arrived with Huge and Shit, and tavenjef and steorn are platooned at the bar. jeffboo showed up later. Cool. The place is vibey and fairly dark. Jazzy, to be hackneyed. Even if I knew noone, I'd enjoy hanging out here.
Especially for the beer.
Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru on tap. On fucking tap. No typos. On tap. Think about it. Hard.
It's gone now, I guess. Sucks to be you.
About 10 taps total. Some Bell's Porter, 2Hearted....getting hazy here...but perhaps some Rockies Hazed and Infused, Maredsous 8 (or was that on deck?), Anchor Steam and some other choices. Did I mention Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru. I didn't explore the bottle collection, but Lion Stout was available and I saw some Unibroue (Trois Pistoles?). There was more too. I can think of another BA that could give you a more accurate listing. ALl selections are well-chosen.
We were also treated to an inpromptu session of Bighuge's homebrews...but I think you'd have to set this up ahead of time.
The food was glorious and unique. Maybe just because this sort of fare is rare in Madison, but I enjoyed every bite. African (Ethiopian, specifically) in origin. I don't recall it by name, but I remember it by taste.
Stop here if you are in the Cities, or anywhere close. I'd love to have a joint like this locally.
04-26-2004 01:48:18 | More by cokes
4.38/5 rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Some of my friends and I went to the Blue Nile last night for the Surly Three release. It is conveniently located close to the light rail so it was really easy to get there and I did not have to worry about driving. The blue Nile is really nicely decorated and is a cool place to hang out. It was a little busy and difficult to find a place to sit at the bar, but we eventually found a table. There were several Surly beers on tap along with some other great offerings, also a great bottle selection. The service was a little slow mainly because it was so busy. We ended up getting several beers and an appetizer which was fantastic, this is a great place to come to try some Mideastern food. Over all this was a pretty fun place to get some drinks an eat some good food. I will definitely be going back soon.
02-12-2009 19:32:35 | More by br3wmeister
4.4/5 rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Finding your way into the Blue Nile can be a bit tricky with the parking in the back of the building and no windows on the building. When I found the door it says they don't open until 4:00 so I walked down the street to Zipps to shop and kill time.
Once inside it is very dark with lots of texture on the walls, floors and tables. It was a sunny warm day outside but it feel like 2:00am inside. The sounds of someone taping on the Atamo and singing made me feel like I was miles away from Minnesota. I sat close to the bar and they had lots of nice taps, 10 I think, and a full menu of bottles from around the world. A good number of the beers from different countries: while some were lagers they did have a nice selection of ales and an entire section of stouts. I didn't have a problem finding plenty to drink and even the taps had lots of diversity from Bells to St. Feuillien. They had both Surly brews on tap with the new Surly brew, CynicAle, waiting in the basement to tap.
The food was good and the combo plate was the way to go with some red-hot spicy chicken dishes and some mild yet flavorful dark lentil dishes. I would have been nice to see a few more local beers but the Surlys were very nice. If I was a local I would have appreciated the diversity they have in the beer list much more especially with all the different flavors in Ethiopian food. Even if I werent hungry for Ethiopian, I would go for the beers along with some tasty appetizers on the side. The St. Feuillien was a nice finish to a good meal and it could only be improved on if they had some Tej, Ethiopian mead, hiding in the back.
06-08-2006 16:21:44 | More by rhoadsrage
4.4/5 rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Finally made it down here, after many failed attempts. The first thing that hits me is the smell, that combined with the decor for some reason took me back to Turkey, or maybe east Africa, but that is not the point. The layout is nice, and Al has some kickin beers on tap. Hopslam, Bells TC Old Ale 06, N'Ice Chouffe, Surly Furious, Surly Mild, Surly Bender, and more that I can't recal. Good pricing on the beers as well. I only paid $4.50 for the Mild, which compared to some other high end establishments is pretty good, and the high end Belgians were capped at like $8-9. The food was superb as well, and took me back to areas I have not traveled to in a little while. Try the Gosa Gosa (appetizer sampler?) platter if you are aprehensive (my wife is the pickiest eater ever, and she liked it.) All in all a great experience, although the music wasn't quite my bag.
Edit: After a visit for Al's B-day the score has to go up, as he had Oak Aged Cynic!
12-19-2008 17:22:32 | More by josephhaugen
4.41/5 rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Visited the Blue Nile Saturday for the 'Hop Heads Only' event put on by the staff. It was my first time visiting the establishment, and the Nile lived up to the glowing reviews I had seen in the past here on Beerfly.
It is located on a somewhat sketchy area of Franklin Ave, near Cedar, which is one reason this place hadn't been on my radar before. The bar area of the restaurant is roomy, with a couple of dance/band areas off to the side. The dining area looks spacious as well. The Blue Nile also features a lovely patio in the back.
The beer selection was top-notch, which one would expect given the fact that they were hosting such a great event. Many American IPA & DIPA taps such as Hopsickle, Maharaja, and 16 Grit were included, along with a few hoppy Belgians. Three cask brews (Summit Red, Bitter Brewer, & Bubblejack) were also tapped on the patio. From viewing the website, the regular beer lineup appears to be outstanding as well.
The staff were top-notch, all enthusiastic and knowledgable about the beers they were serving. They also were very personable, joking around with the customers and answering questions about both the beers and the tasting setup.
I was there too early to eat, they hadn't started serving yet so I cannot comment on the food.
Prices were fair & reasonable.
Overall, this is a place that hadn't been on my radar before this weekend, mainly because of the location and the fact that I do not care much for the style of cuisine. I will not make this mistake any more, as I had a blast at the Blue Nile. Looking forward to their next beer event, or just the next weekend to belly up and have some incredible beers.
06-01-2009 20:10:44 | More by kbaker91
4.43/5 rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I first visited the Blue Nile a couple years ago to see some of my friends' band play. I was still getting into craft beer at the time, and I was impressed that they had a couple of Bell's selections I really liked, not really noticing much else.
Now that I am a bit more beer savvy, I wonder what I missed. This place has exceptional quality beer. There are about 10 taps, and a decent bottle list, so the selection isn't the greatest, but since they will have something new and dank every couple weeks it seems, it's been worth stopping in there a bit more now than I used to. Things like Victory's St. Victorious Doppelbock, He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., and usually a good Belgian or two are what keep me coming back, they are not common, even at some of the other good beer bars around the cities. And if you arent feeling adventurous, they have all of your local favorites as well (*cough* all three Surlys at the time of this review *cough* and Two Hearted Ale and Oberon *cough cough*).
The atmosphere here varies quite a bit. There are times you can walk in at 10pm and be one of two people at the bar. Then again it can be busy as hell on a random week night. They get a very diverse crowd in there too, they have shows that vary from pop-punk, indie music, hip hop nights, to poetry nights, to reggae nights. And with the good beer they serve there it's really easy to run into fellow beer lovers and talk beer.
I havn't tried every dish, and I am no expert on African food, but I have really liked all of the food I have tried there, it seems very authentic, not a cheap rip-off. They have a bar appitizer menu too if ethnic food isn't your thing.
The service there is nice, astute, and fairly knowledgeable, a bit above average all in all, unless the bar manager Al (a.k.a. feloniousmonk on BA.com) is helping you. Then it is outstanding. He knows a ton about beer, and he keeps an optimistic and explorative approach about it. Always want's to make sure you are having a good time, and your beer stays full. He doesn't try to dazzle you with knowledge either, he just wants you to enjoy it. The first time I met him he was giving away glasses of a dry hopped batch of Furious at a Surly promo at the Nile. What a guy!
07-17-2006 18:07:20 | More by dfried
4.43/5 rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I learned about Blue Nile through beeradvocate.com, where feloniousmonk (a.k.a. Al), the bar manager, is a frequent poster. I made two vists during our trip...one on the first day and one on my last...before I head off to the airport. I had promised Al I would be back and I did not want to disappoint!
One might not think to go there - an Ethiopian and Middle Eastern restaurant by design - for microbrew selections, but it is most definitely a destination for beer travelers. And since we arrived during Happy Hour (4-6 PM) we enjoyed 2 for 1 beers along with the company of Al.
On tap right now are three Surly beers (Two, Furious and Bender), Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence, Brau Brothers Scotch Ale, Summit Grain Belt, Lion Stout, Bell's Consecrator Dopplebock and a few others that I just don't remember. There is also a very nice selection of bottled beers if one is so inclined.
Al told us a lot about what he's lining up, the interesting music visitors can enjoy (including hip-hop, jazz, reggae, and African bands), and the background of the owners and how their Oromo heritage influences the menu. We ordered appetizers. I did not note the names, but one was like a samosa but made with lentils and served with a really interesting hot sauce and the other was a really tasty Baba Ghanoush served with warm pita triangles.
Both times I/we were in the lounge area....but from what I saw the dining area looks very interesting.
I was most impressed with what Al is trying to and seems to be succeeding at doing here. I hope more people come out, have a few good beers and try some great ethnic food!
03-30-2008 13:35:41 | More by Deuane
4.44/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stop 5 on the Minneapolis Beer Sprint (10:15pm)
Bar area to the right as you walk into the restaurant. I had been warned to get here by 10:30 or earlier, so I was a bit rushed as I walked in. Fortunately, there were 6-8 folks seated around the bar (looked like it would hold about 30), so I was pretty sure I had time for a pint or two. Looking around, you see tile and stucco, gives it a bit of a Mediterranean feel. 1 small TV, with the sound turned down showed some news. Lots of beer paraphenalia floating around.
Quality of the beer I enjoyed was fine. Proper temperature and glassware were used.
Service was prompt and friendly. I was suffering from lock-up between a couple of choices, and they cheerfully put up with a bit of "I'll take...no, wait, make that a...." from me.
Selection was very good. 10 or so drafts, and about 50 bottles. Good combination of local stuff, Belgian options, then a bit of everything else. Beer menu was broken into lagers, ales, stouts, and wheat/fruit beers. Stout selection was especially impressive.
I enjoyed a Koningshoeven quad. and a Mojo Risin.
The menu looked very good, but I was still pretty full and decided to concentrate on the beer.
Overall, an exceptionally nice bar by itself. Not what you would normally expect to find in a restaurant.
05-18-2007 18:05:56 | More by
4.44/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
Stopped into the Blue Nile after having dinner at Town Hall.
My main reason for visiting here was to catch Surly on tap. And low and behold, I walked into find three Surly beers on tap. With the exception of a young lady, I was the only person at the bar. Which is always nice when you just want to relax and drink some great beer. The bartender was very friendly and beer-savvy.
I had come on happy hour, which meant 2-for-1 beers. They had Surly's Bitter Brewer on tap, which was awesome, as previously in the day I learned that it hadn't been canned yet. I had a pint of that, plus a pint each of the Furious and Bender before I left. And I loved that they were served into Surly nonic glasses. Just a great touch that made the beer that much more enjoyable.
I really enjoyed humming the scenery of the Blue Nile, and can't wait to go back. Awesome beer, great staff, and a very unique atmosphere.
06-24-2008 16:36:12 | More by leftmindedrighty
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Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge in Minneapolis, MN
95 out of 100 based on 49 user ratings.