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
4.3/5 rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I went to the Blue Nile for the Surly Three release party. It was pretty crowded as I expected it would be. They have a great selection of beer, and the food was really good! I had the Gosa Gosa which was delicious! The atmosphere was great! There is a really big center bar and tables around the rest of the bar area. The only complaint I would have is that they needed more seating, but it was pretty busy so that is expected. They had an area for a band, I would love to go back when they have live music! The service was surprisingly good for how busy it was, I didn't have to wait very long to get a drink, and the food came out pretty quickly. I would definitely recommend this bar to anyone looking for a good beer bar, or a place to get some good Ethiopian food.
02-12-2009 21:10:59 | More by natasharai
4.1/5 rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
This is a great place and Al is always changing up his taps. Atmosphere is good, but maybe a little stuffy, and old school. but the quality is spot on, well cared for beers some of which Al ages on his own. Service is always good, although I have only been in the bar, but even if Al isn't there the bartender always seems pretty knowledgeable about what is going on. Selection is nice for the few taps they have, they always keep a decent mix going. And the food is always very good.
Will be back, and the two for one happy hour is always a must stop when in the area.
04-16-2008 21:19:15 | More by mnstorm99
4.78/5 rDev +10.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Been by the Nile a couple of times. Impressed everyone of them. Building looks like maybe it used to be a Mexican place being that it is all Stucco or southwest looking. Cool murals have been painted on the exterior now. Ample parking. This is an Ethiopian place so the furnishings etc. are different than what you see almost everywhere else. Immediatley inside the front door there is like a living room area. Large couches etc. for gatherings. THis is kinda cool. Dim lighting throughout lends to a comfortable relaxing atmosphere. The bar has a varied selection. A couple of nice beers, Hop it Urthel and a Grand Cru were what I had. Both very nice. They also had a couple of Bell products on tap and a few others I don't remember. I don't see how you couldn't find a beer or two you wanted to have while visiting here. Service was very prompt, corteous and professional. Wait staff and Al (the awesome barkeep and fellow BA) were all very knowledgeable about the food offerings and very patient and willing to explain the menu choices. I think I have had the Schwarma and a Lamb dish the two times I have eaten here. Both were very tasty. This place is definitley worth a try, and in my opinion worth visiting whenever you are in the area and have the opportunity.
10-27-2005 14:15:46 | More by corporatejim
4.31/5 rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.75 | $$$
The Blue Nile doesn't have a ton of beer options. Other places in town such as Stubs or the Happy Gnome have a lot more choice. With that said, the Nile has some great quality in their tap list and they are always moving through to new and more interesting options. The food is also fantastic if you are up for Ethiopian. Definitely a fun place to visit if you are from out of town.
01-24-2013 03:32:08 | More by Hopsiam14
4.1/5 rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2.75 | $
I love Blue Nile, I really do. Virtually all of my "drinking out" dollars go there. That said, it has some drawbacks that visitors should keep in mind.
Atmosphere: (Note: I am not planning to review the restaurant or the non-beer beverage selection) This is a hermit-crab establishment through and through. A great beer bar nestled in the husk of an Ethiopian restaurant, itself occupying the shell of a Mexican restaurant. If you're confused, join the crowd. It's dark, and the bar stools are of dubious integrity. The roof leaks when it rains. Patrons are a mix of neighborhood residents and beer geeks. And more, depending on what's on stage.
Yeah, there's a stage and dance floor. If there's a Reggae or Death Metal band, there's a $10 cover charge and a crowd to match the music. You can avoid the cover by getting there before 9 PM or so, which dovetails nicely with the 8-10 happy hour (more on that later). If there is no stage act, the music is likely to be jazz, especially in the afternoon.
Quality/Selection: The bar manager is fellow BA feloniousmonk: ask for Al. Al maintains 12 tap lines, of which none are wasted. Typically, 6 are dedicated to pints (mostly local), and 6 to the more expensive beers. The latter typically include some hard-to-find Belgians and special releases from local breweries. As proud owner of Surly invoice #3 and Harriet invoice #1, Blue Nile has an unsurpassed relationship with those two breweries, and only takes their beers off-tap during special events.
The bottle list is not huge, but it has some gems, and you never get gouged on price. I drank more than my share of barrel-aged Gonzo at $6.25 a bottle last year.
Service: The staff love customers who love beer. They are as friendly as you are. Chat them up, and you'll get great service.
Food: There is a restaurant menu and a bar menu. I consider the Ethiopian fare acceptable, but below par for the city. The bar menu has two gems, however: the Shwarma sandwich and the wings. Big and meaty, these are not BW3 wings.
Value: Blue Nile has two happy hours every day: 4-6 PM and 8-10 PM. Buy any draft beer and get one of the pints for free. As in: Buy a Cuvée Des Jacobins Rouge for $7, get a free pint of Furious. That kind of thing.
All-in-all, it's a great place to drink and talk beer. Plus, it's quite close to a light rail station, in case you have one too many.
08-13-2013 05:17:57 | More by DaveAnderson
4.4/5 rDev +1.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Finally made it down here, after many failed attempts. The first thing that hits me is the smell, that combined with the decor for some reason took me back to Turkey, or maybe east Africa, but that is not the point. The layout is nice, and Al has some kickin beers on tap. Hopslam, Bells TC Old Ale 06, N'Ice Chouffe, Surly Furious, Surly Mild, Surly Bender, and more that I can't recal. Good pricing on the beers as well. I only paid $4.50 for the Mild, which compared to some other high end establishments is pretty good, and the high end Belgians were capped at like $8-9. The food was superb as well, and took me back to areas I have not traveled to in a little while. Try the Gosa Gosa (appetizer sampler?) platter if you are aprehensive (my wife is the pickiest eater ever, and she liked it.) All in all a great experience, although the music wasn't quite my bag.
Edit: After a visit for Al's B-day the score has to go up, as he had Oak Aged Cynic!
12-19-2008 17:22:32 | More by josephhaugen
4.1/5 rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
I love the Blue Nile. Al manages to make this place a rock-solid beer bar despite not having a ton of tap lines. There is always something (usually several somethings) interesting on tap, they do a lot of events (release parties, big beer nights, and the like), and the bottle list is stellar, as well. Good prices, the right glassware, usually some good music playing, and a pretty festive (but not loud) atmosphere.
If you need a drink, you can
He'll get you some beer that will
Served with a smile and some cheeer!
(set to the tune of "Call Me," originally by Burt Bacharach)
03-31-2009 15:58:48 | More by BearsSox
4.6/5 rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$
My first visit to The Blue Nile was Surly Four release in Feb. 2010...I think it was Feb. Al and his crew had their hands full with the amount of people that night. Since then, The Blue Nile has been my favorite beer bar. Happy hour(2 for 1's) from 4-6pm and 8-10 pm every day of the year. You cannot beat that! Al always has great offerings on tap. Usually puts together a Belgian Beer week or Hops week. Top notch! Servers are all kind and knowledgeable. Al is a hell of a guy as well!
If I could recommend a few changes to The Blue Nile they would be...install a NEW roof. Too much rain water during big storms. After the roof is fixed, add 4 larger TV's that display the MN Twins games. Otherwise, everything is great.
Of all the beer joints in Minneapolis this is one of my favorite locations to enjoy great beer and conversations with my MN friends!
07-22-2011 22:35:28 | More by arniepnminne
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Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant & Lounge in Minneapolis, MN
95 out of 100 based on 49 user ratings.