Mackenzie — January 28, 2011

1 02 2011

918 Hennepin Avenue

For an Irish pub in a hopping location, Mackenzie floored us with some of the best bar food we’ve had in a long time. Expectations were low: we figured kicking off the weekend on Hennepin would result in – at best – eating a greasy sandwich and fries while standing in a crowded corner of a bar. But, lucky for us, a Friday night at Mackenzie didn’t even come close.

From the street, Mackenzie’s charming Irish façade would have you believe it’s a tiny pub with a few beers on tap and a rugby match on TV. But the place has a surprising amount of space (and rugby was nowhere to be seen). The perimeter holds wide high-top tables, the long bar makes room for a good amount of stools, and the back portion fits a number of lower tables and chairs. In addition to the spacious ground floor, the second level (it’s so high up, we almost didn’t see it!) has tables and chairs around a balcony that overlooks the entire place. And, though our January visit didn’t allow us to test it, we’ve only heard good things about the summertime patio.

Artisan beer signs, arcade games and signed posters from shows at the nearby theaters give Mackenzie the feel of a neighborhood bar. But the collection of beers on tap and wines on hand show they mean business. Our food tasted homemade instead of pulled from a deep freeze, which made the menu’s wide variety even more notable. Though it was weird that no burger of any kind was on the menu, we didn’t mind if Mackenzie traded offering a flat, frozen patty for better versions of other sandwiches.

Buffalo chicken wrap and ale


Both of our wraps bundled fresh vegetables and tender meat in a thin and soft tortilla – not a dry and coarse shell like some sports bars or diners. Though fries are available for another $2, we stuck with the tasty kettle chips (which were outstanding, especially when dipped in Mackenzie’s chipotle mayo).  We could have been served the same food at a casual restaurant and been satisfied, which made the bar’s tiny kitchen all the more impressive.

Service was unmemorable. The waitress wasn’t rude (just somewhat apathetic) and our food and drinks arrived somewhat quickly. Our entrees were missing some minor items (like the jalapeno pickle we’d been looking forward to), but it’s nothing we can really hold against them. We discovered a downtown pub that offers all the right things: a fun-yet-casual atmosphere for drinks, plenty of space for crowds of all sizes, and a menu we’d agree is worth using. Cheers!

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection:
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠1/2

Total bill, including tip: $35.50

Mackenzie on Urbanspoon




2 responses

2 02 2011
The Raji Burger and Morning Roundup | The Heavy Table - Minneapolis-St. Paul and Upper Midwest Food Magazine and Blog

[…] liked it), an ode to the fallen Town Talk, the Well Fed Guide to Life heads to Hazel’s, and praise for the bar menu at Mackenzie. » The Raji Burger and Morning Roundup » Print Version // […]

16 02 2011

yummm. It looks like you had a lot of fun at this place 🙂

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