I did finally make my way into the Blue Nile a few months ago for Surly Darkness. The bar manager (Al - Pigfoot) keeps the place well stocked with beer. At the time, in addition to Darkness, was Sierra Nevada Harvest Ale on tap. He’s had Bernardus 12 on several times that I can recall. There is always a couple great things on.
Really good Ethiopian food with a surprisingly good beer selection. An old place that is a bit run down has a large seating area and a bar with Ethiopian decor. Service is not paticularly beer oriented and can be a bit slow. A nice tap selection with some rarer locals available. Food is sublime. Prices are decent. Not a great beer destination overall but a great restaurant.
I dig this place, and really need to stop in more for the food. Beer selection is usually really good, and service is friendly. Love the Ethiopean food, if you’re looking for a different food experience this is the place.
I never would have thought about combining Ethiopian food and American beer but then I had never had Ethiopian food either. Very cool place just down the way from Zipp’s, even if the layout is kind of weird. We split the sampler which is a little bit of everything all on the giant pancake thing. Most of it was good. The service was good too. The beer list was pretty good. Since I was there in November it was the end of fresh hop beer season so naturally there were some hoppy beers had but I also found a random tick in the list too. I think this is definitely a place to visit with a group of people.
Delicious and fun spot to have two of my favorite things: Ethiopian food and fancy beer... but it’s WAY too expensive and the portions were recently completely halved while the prices went UP.
Why is that cool? You aren’t even served the hot towels to wash your hands (absolutely necessary after finger food like this). Oh, well. The waitstaff is awesome and knowledgeable about the beers and food and they are always friendly to us. I bring out of towners here (when they pay, hehehe) to experience some great Cedar-Riverside/Seward magic. Truly a Minneapolis must-visit...if you have a lot of money.
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. I’ll return someday. Was a perfect celebration for the renewal of my passport!
Visited on a Wednesday afternoon following a meeting. This is a seriously difficult place to describe. As you first walk in, it very much looks like a traditional corner bar, yet there is a stage off to one side, and restaurant seating in nooks and crannies throughout the place. Not to mention the African / Ethiopian design elements. This place has live music some nights, and it is certainly designed to fit a crown around the bar. There was also a Patio that looked nice. The beer lineup here focuses on locals, with some very unique tap handles. In addition to a couple beers, I ordered the Sambusa Fooni and Baajiya, which were both tasty. Service was great, despite the fact that the bartender was new. He was quite honest about his beer knowledge and was willing to give samples. The highlight of the visit was overhearing a conversation around the cultural identity of Eritreans who left during Ethiopian rule. This, as it often does, spun into a larger discussion around the broader implications of arbitrary border definitions, normal bar talk all around.
82 = ★★★½ (Solid place, near the top of the list for locals and visitors)
I only use the total score, not the component parts.
The Blue Nile is an off-the-beaten-path spot full of characters among whom one can enjoy an ever-revolving selection of craft beers. Calvin is my guy as I’m a Tuesday regular; while he’s young and doesn’t have Al’s reservoir of knowledge, he’s a great guy and has come to know my taste so he makes superb suggestions. I wouldn’t rate this place as highly if I didn’t stop in so frequently, but I’ve had the chance to sample lots of brews I wouldn’t because the selection changes so often and often suits my taste. I get a kick out of the run-down, "take me outside Minneapolis" vibe and it seems I can’t go more than two weeks without meeting a few new interesting regulars. More worthwhile to frequent than to stop in, for sure.
Stopped here on a Monday night at about 615pm place was completely empty we were seated at an uncomfortable booth but moved to a table, beer selection was good but not huge, surly furious and deschutes abyss were the standouts, food is unique and service is really good plenty of water and advice on the unique menu, eclectic mix of music and decor was cool neat place
This place was not at all what I was expecting. In fact, when I finally found the place I thought it was closed. Walking in there is a fairly large bar with a decent draft selection, but not overwhelming. Fairly unusual atmosphere. The food is all Ethopian. It smelled great, but I honestly did not have a chance to eat. The staff seemed informed for the most part. From a pure beer selection standpoint, there are much better places in this city, and I am surprised that this place is as highly rated as it is. Personally, I would spend my time up at Acadia or Republic if I were in this area.