The Cardinal Bar, meant for light-railers, yet welcoming to all

Something about this place reminds me of Winter Park, Fla. Sliding against Spanish families, crushed together in the summer heat of an outdoor laundromat. The way the wind smells after a week’s rain. That’s how this bar smells, mid-February, during a “weird winter” as they call it in Minnesota.

cardinal bar
The Cardinal Bar, right on the corner of 55 & E. 38th Street. Park in the lot on the opposite sidd of E. 38th. Not in someone’s neighborhood parking spot. FYI. I didn’t see the lot until after I parked.

A glass-lined garage door serves as the wall, rolled-up to permit patrons with the dichotomy of feeling like they’re sitting outside, yet amid fluorescent lights, catty corner to the abandoned pool tables in the back.

The Cardinal Restaurant & Bar is familiar in the way that it plays my mother’s music, CCR and Ted Nugent.

The atmosphere brings me back to those days when I’d haul my laundry on the back of a bicycle, or later in my college career, on the back of a neon-green, Chinese-made scooter, to a laundromat down the road from my dingy, mold-infested studio apartment (with a hot plate, so I was sittin’ pretty), and while I waited for my clothes to wash or dry themselves, I would steal over either to the bar or the Italian joint next store.

There’s something comforting having a beer in a place where no one knows your name. Taking in a different environment, where you’re the odd one out among regulars.

I just like that feeling. It’s invigorating.

Survey says? Service at the Cardinal Bar is fast as hell. As soon as you step in the door, especially if you look lost, someone will ask you what you want, and within a minute, your beer arrives.

They have Summit, the beer drinker’s version of comfort food for the discerning, IPA-loving St. Paulite in the room, so you don’t have to guzzle Michelob or Budweiser in foreign territory. 3-6 p.m. is Happy Hour, mind you, with Summit going for $4.35 a pint.

They also have 85¢ tacos on Tuesdays, apparently. And it’s not crowded. Just this little hole in the wall in south Minneapolis that sports a banner boasting, “Best Food for Light-Rail Riders”. (Attribution: Mpls-St. Paul Magazine).

Long story short, I suggest you pop by the Cardinal Bar, if you’re in the Minnehaha-St. Paul-south Minneapolis area. On Tuesdays. Get a taco. I didn’t, but, I’m not hungry. It’s all Summit for me.

Oh, and apparently Tuesday is Trivia Night. Which makes sense. Trivia & Tacos. That starts around 7 p.m. If you’re into that. Then, again. I had to dip and head over to the Medicine Tree and pick up some detox tea!

Nice knowin’ ya, kind folks! Thanks for the brewski.


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