Constantine. File photo

Constantine. File photo

Best Picks: Sept. 8–21

Updated: September 14, 2016 - 4:17 pm

What do to downtown after work.

Spirits in the chapel

One of my favorite drinking holes downtown this year has been Constantine, tucked away below its Italian sibling Monello in the newly renovated Hotel Ivy. Jester Concepts has done wonders to make the bar, which opens daily at 5 p.m. for the post-work crowd, a prime destination for some of the city’s best cocktails and seriously decadent snacks (butter-filled burgers anyone?).

The drink menu is constantly changing so I’d recommend trusting the bartenders to help you decipher the menu or, even better, crafting something entirely unique based on what you like. Jesse Held, the bar director, has also invited a rotating cast of chefs to tend the bar a couple times a month, from its own chef, Mike DeCamp, to Adam Eaton of Saint Dinette.

Also, be sure to walk around the corner and take a peek inside the Whiskey Chapel. The bull horns-adorned room is perfect for Instagram. Fun fact: Constantine’s home, the Ivy Tower, was commissioned by the Second Church of Christ, Scientist, just in case the organ parts on the wall and gothic décor are lost on you.

For more behind-the-scenes access to Constantine, try checking out Held’s monthly cocktail classes, which, for $75 per person, get you belly up to the bar.

Soul music, Minnesota-style

I first heard Southside Desire a few years ago as a college radio DJ, and the collective of local music vets’ sound has stuck with me. The South Minneapolis-born femme-fronted, neo-northern soul band is completely Midwestern, drawing inspiration from a land of both Prince and punk, garage rock and grrrl power. Their next show, an 18-plus concert at First Avenue’s 7th Entry on Sept. 13, pairs them with headliner Khruangbin, a Texas-based surfer trio with a sound from ‘60s-era cinema and old-school Thai funk. Both bands base their sounds in soul and R&B yet take them in different directions, with Southside Desire’s Marvell Devitt weaving powerful tales together with her sultry voice and Khruangbin churning out bass-heavy tunes with an international feel. The show should make for easy listening perfect for the end of summer.

Taproom trivia

Loring Park’s Lakes & Legends is one of the latest downtown venues to adopt a trivia night. The Belgian-style brewery and taproom, which you can find by walking toward the large glass LPM Apartments tower visible from just about anywhere, offers Tuesday night trivia through Minneapolis-based Trivia Mafia. Before 7 p.m. trivia, I’d bring my team down to the taproom for happy hour (3 p.m.–6 p.m.) and enjoy the taproom’s unique brews, indoor cornhole and backyard vibes.

Lakes & Legends offers its St. Gail raspberry braggot, a fruity combination of beer and mead. Or, if you’re already feeling fall, try The Noir, a spicy dark chocolate stout for something a little darker and with more hoppiness.

A night of drinking games

Recently a friend told me about game night at Clubhouse Jager. While I’d wager most know the famed North Loop bar for DJ Jake Rudh’s Transmission on Wednesday nights, here were a bunch of nerds playing “Mario Kart” and “Super Smash Bros.” on a projector in one of the coolest parts of the city. But it totally works at Jager. In case you’re like me and never really grew out of video games, the night is set up with a Wii U for open gaming, so get friends and grab a controller. Plus, the bar recommends bringing along your Gameboy 3DS, so the only difference between you now and the you from the 20th century is that you can drink a beer while you’re training your Pokemon. The free festivities run on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m. and go to 2 a.m.