Best Of Secrets of the City Awards

SotC Award: The Rat Hole

Some publications save up their awards for special once a year blowout packages—but not us! We’re giving out awards whenever we want to, in whatever categories we want to. 

The Best of List from City Pages came out yesterday—and this might surprise some to hear us say— there’s a lot of good stuff in it, especially some of the A&E highlights like Piñata Records as Best Local Record Label and LOTT as Best Acoustic Performer. Underground venue Shit Biscuit won the award for best venue name, and we agree that it’s good. But we also wanted to recognize the off-the-radar crusty metal venue that’s had a bunch of awesome shows lately, including the Bloodgeon tour kickoff—The Rat Hole. You can basically have two reactions to that name, either you’re really excited to go, get wasted on cheap beer that you brought, bang around and have your ears bleed . . . or you scrunch your face up and say “nope”. And that’s how a good name should work.


SotC Lifetime Achievement Award: The TV in Nye’s Polka Lounge

Nye's

Some publications save up their awards for special once a year blowout packages—but not us! We’re giving out awards whenever we want to, in whatever categories we want to. 

We stopped into Nye’s on Saturday night to either pay our respects or say good riddance, depending on your opinion of the iconic venue. For us it was a little of both. Maybe it’s that the end of Nye’s as we know it is approaching, with upcoming sale and hilarious (and somewhat sad) high rise development, but the place was packed during our visit. Through it all—the server’s uniforms, the terrible singing at the piano bar, the three dining rooms of birthday parties, the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band—the one thing that stood out to us was the television hanging in the corner of the Polka Lounge. The sagging, 18 inch screen looked like no one had changed the channel for the last 15 years, the moving image mostly an abstract mess of different colored horizontal lines over what might have been a basketball game. That TV has shown a lot of games and seen a lot of crazy stuff in that bar, and that’s why it’s getting an award.


SOTC Award: Best Restaurant Location Change

Himalayan

Some publications save up their awards for special once a year blowout packages—but not us! We’re giving out awards whenever we want to, in whatever categories we want to. 

Himalayan Restaurant and their excellent Nepalese/Indian/Tibetan food has long been a standard of Franklin Ave in Seward, as well as a staple of our takeout diet. (We’re big fans of the palak paneer and Kathmandu curry, and Pro Tip: Add on a half order of veggie momos.) So when we heard from them that they were upgrading their space to the old Kong’s building on East Lake street we got pretty jazzed. Not only can they accommodate a table of more than four without have to shift around the whole restaurant, Himalayan hasn’t changed a thing about their tastey food or familiar service.


SOTC Award: Best Place to Power Lunch—Secretly

zenbox

You work downtown in MPLS. Your bosses and coworkers work downtown in MPLS. But you need to meet up with a new prospective employer or client or boyfriend on the down low. Most spots you normally lunch are out, but you need somewhere with a good lunch to show you know what’s going on. Enter Zenbox Izakaya on Washington and 6th. Just out of the reach of prying eyes and ears, Zenbox fills up with young professionals at lunch because they’ve got a great menu (we recommend their bento boxes or veggie curry and tofu skewers), quick service, and you can stay in the loop on any big time events they have, like Ramen Massive Attack. And you can get your private business done without bumping into anyone . . . for now.


SOTC Award: Best (and Weirdest) Winter Sanity Saver

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Some publications save up their awards for special once a year blowout packages—but not us! We’re giving out awards whenever we want to, in whatever categories we want to. 

Look, we’re not worried about you thinking we’re crazy—cause y’all know we can be—so we’re going to share this sorta weird piece of advice. We had read about South MPLS’s Salt Cave but were a little skeptical of the premise (breathe in salt air for 45 minutes and feel really good). Now that we’ve gone a few times, though, we’re hooked. Simply sign up for a session ($30 each; $135 for 6). Then show up and relax in a dark room with hand-constructed Himalayan pink salt walls for 45 minutes while salt air is pumped in through a halogenerator. You’ll leave covered in white powder, but it’s worth it. We’ve found our normally awful winter sinus problems and dry skin disappear completely within 12 hours of going, and we just feel better and more relaxed overall. A lot of people report that salt therapy helps with insomnia, ear infections, anxiety, bronchitis, asthma and a host of other ailments, too.

So thanks to The Salt Cave for our new winter craziness-abatement plan; we just wish it would have opened years ago.

The Salt Cave, 4811 Nicollet Ave. S., MPLS; saltcaveminnesota.com