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This year winter was like a crazy ex-lover in denial. Minnesotans had long been over it, but the breakup was excruciatingly protracted. Surprise snowfalls and lingering cold temperatures were as unwanted as desperate, late-night text messages.

No, we don’t miss you sometimes.

But it seems winter is finally moving on with its life. Spring has sprung, and after months of drinking indoors it’s time to take it outside. It’s hard to go wrong with a cold beer on a warm day, but some signature cocktails are best served sans roof. As you start playing the patio field, these five exceptional cocktail/patio pairings can help you get your groove back.

Serious whiskey drinkers might prefer the classic Old Fashioned, but the sweet and smooth nectar (served on the rocks) is a savory pre-dinner potable when dining on the gorgeous garden patio.

374 Selby Av., St. Paul, 651-224-5715,

1601 W. Lake St., Mpls., 612-823-0250,

730 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-354-3135,

2528 Nicollet Av. S., Mpls., 612-276-6523,

18 W. 26th St., Mpls., 612-767-6850,


Northeast Minneapolis beer bars and taprooms are getting in on this weekend’s Art-a-Whirl action. Stanley’s Bar Room is throwing a bona fide beer fest/block party from 2-5 p.m. Saturday ($59), featuring at least 40 breweries. Also on Saturday, Indeed Brewing is hosting its Rails & Ales party with live music from noon to 10 p.m. Como Avenue Jug Band, Roe Family Singers, the Cactus Blossoms and more are set to perform outside the taproom, as Indeed releases its LSD Honey Ale. The boys at 612Brew are billing their bash as a mini multiday fest, with more hip-hop-tilted lineups Friday (5 p.m.) and Saturday (3 p.m.). 612Brew and Indeed’s parties are free.

Stanley’s Bar Room: 2500 University Av. NE., Mpls., 612-788-2529, www.stanleys

Indeed: 711 15th Av. NE., Mpls., 612-843-5090,

612Brew: 945 NE. Broadway, Mpls., 612-217-0437,

Pie play in Robbinsdale
The first piece of the Travail team’s takeover of Robbinsdale’s dining scene fell into place last Friday, when Pig Ate My Pizza opened in the old Travail space. With Pig Ate My Pizza, co-owner Mike Brown and company are getting into the trendy gourmet-pie game. Two other Robbinsdale restaurants are in the works, including a Travail 2.0.

4151 W. Broadway Av., Robbinsdale, 763-535-1131

Michael Rietmulder writes about bars and nightlife.