Rochester’s Nightlife Renaissance: The Best Bars in Rochester

By: Beth Erickson

January 20, 2014

Not all that long ago, Rochester locals claimed there was nothing to do at night. Today, all that is changing as the city embraces a new vibrant nightlife scene. Here are our top six Rochester pubs and bars, to get your evening off to a great start.

The Doggery

Step back in time at this Prohibition era, speakeasy basement bar. Aside from the painted, 1920’s-style mural on the way downstairs, the décor at The Doggery is simple and rustic and the atmosphere is fun and friendly. Throwback cocktails, an impressive selection of scotch, and an absinthe fountain lend authenticity to this new Rochester hangout.


The Tap House | The Best Bars in Rochester

The Tap House © Olive Juice Studios


The Tap House


Love a good brew? The Tap House is a multi-level pub which features 50 different brands of tap beer and a selection of wine and specialty drinks, while traditional appetizers and flatbread pizzas stave off the hunger pangs. A contemporary, clean-cut venue, The Tap House is a great place to visit for live jazz or acoustic tunes and al fresco drinks up at the rooftop bar.


Tap House Exterior | The Best Bars in Rochester

The front exterior of The Tap House © Olive Juice Studios


The PedalPub

The ideal choice for cycling fans, the PedalPub offers pedal tours of Rochester (from April 1-October 31) on a multi-person bike that also happens to contain a barrel of beer. It takes between eight and 16 people to operate the bike at about five miles per hour – perfect for parties or large groups.


Pedal Pub | The Best Bars in Rochester

The Pedal Pub © Olive Juice Studios


The Kinney Creek Brewery

Rochester’s first brewery since Prohibition, Kinney Creek Brewery has a taproom where visitors can sample standard brews like Smoked Porter, Squirrel’s Delight, and Sippin’ Sour, or Seasonal beers like Mint Mocha Stout, Controlled Burn, or Rochtoberfest. The brewery has a casual, laidback atmosphere and does not serve food, but they do encourage you to bring your own or have it delivered.


The Loop


With exposed wood and brick walls, eclectic cocktails, and a trendy menu, The Loop is a local favourite. Enjoy pork belly tostadas with wonton crisps, smoked blue cheese slaw, and tomato jam while sipping a Vanilla Maple Manhattan””Woodford Reserve, organic vanilla & maple agave, sweet vermouth, and candied bacon. In summer, the front of the restaurant opens to the street, and at night, a young crowd enjoy music and dancing.


Pubs of Rochester | Tap House

Socializing at The Tap House © Olive Juice Studios

Dooley’s Pub


Dooley’s Pub is a sports lover’s dream. Whether you enjoy a good football match or want to catch the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, or Timberwolves play, you’re sure to catch it here. Dooley’s not only has two 20-foot projection screens, eight 63-inch TV screens, and 10 55-inch screens, but there are also additional screens in the men’s toilets. Enjoy a pint, along with traditional Irish fare and a late-night menu including snacks like sliders, nachos, and even fried cheese curds. In summer, the outdoor patio is the place to hang out into the wee hours.


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What do you think of Rochester’s nightlife scene? What’s your go-to bar in town? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Written by Beth Erickson


Beth Erickson

Beth Erickson is owner of Jobe Communications, LLC, ( a writing, editing, and creative concept company. She lives near Rochester, MN, and visits the city frequently for work and play. She also loves to go fishing and hiking on the Mississippi River with her family.

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