St. Paul’s Tequila Bar – Barrio

I posted this last night on my Examiner page…

Unbeknownst to the general public outside of the state, Minnesota’s Twin Cities area is a thriving cultural hub in which the music, theater and food/drink scenes have launched into Splendor. Some may argue it, but many will proclaim it. Whether they’re blogging about some new song they heard on the Current or posting about being in a favorite bar on Twitter, the MNScene is Alive!

Last night, I took my soon-to-be fiance (shhh! don’t spoil it) to Barrio in downtown St. Paul. Barrio is a Minnesota-based tequila bar, which I didn’t even know Minnesota had until now, that is “brought to you” by the same folks who own La Belle Vie.

The place was packed!

I couldn’t tell if it was just a really popular place or if the crowd was a product of St. Paul’s Winter Carnival, which was going on right across the street. Either way, there were people everywhere. Sarah and I walked in and were seated immediately despite the crowd. I made a reservation online at their website – cool idea, Barrio!

After being seated we immediately ordered chips and guac and a couple margaritas. A nice guy brought us our chips and guac right away and gave us a little cup of tangy, slightly spicy salsa to compliment the guac. It was delicious! It wasn’t skimpy on the guac either, we actually ran out of chips before finishing the guac and salsa.

When our drinks came, we were annoyed. Despite being really good and strong margaritas, our drinks were in small, plastic cups. Part of me understands the use of plastic cups because it was so busy. Another part of me cried foul. This isn’t college. This isn’t even a college town. I see LOTS of glassware. I see glasses that would have been an appropriate size for a drink.

We paid $9 each for small cups of margarita mix.

Not cool.

Then our food came quite a while later. We ordered a few tacos and enchiladas. They were SMALL! For the three bites it took to each one, they were pretty fantastic… but they were hella expensive. You can see pictures of our food in the Slideshow. Each taco, which was about the size of the palm of my hand, was $4.

I recognize my tendency towards sticker shock, but still, $4 for a damn taco is ridiculous.
After we left still hungry, we went to the store for more food.

All in all – Barrio is a really cool place and a really nice atmosphere. There is a wall of Mexican-style wrestling masks covering one wall, a huge wall of tequila above the bar and dancing marionette dolls above the entryway. You can see most of this stuff in the Slideshow pictures. However, it is a really expensive place (expensive for my tastes… I’m a laid back kid who enjoys college-priced drinks, not the reality of downtown-priced drinks).

One thing I noticed in reading other comments about Barrio online is that people criticized it for their tequila. But they all had one thing in common: they were scared of tequila and only ordered Patron. So I have some Advice, when you go to a TEQUILA BAR, order something that you will only see in a tequila bar. Don’t order something typical. Get away from the norm. If I were with a group of people, and not driving, I would have ordered a few rounds of assorted tequila to try out. But it was Sarah and I with me driving.

I Would go back to Barrio, but not without a group of friends or family from out of town who are ready to throw down a fist of cash to pay the bill.



Filed under drinks, food, reviews, Uncategorized

2 responses to “St. Paul’s Tequila Bar – Barrio

  1. Hi Nate:

    Thanks for the write up and coming in. The Department of Safety & Inspections for the City of St. Paul REQUIRES us to serve in plastic cups during the Winter Carnival parade day and St. Patrick’s Day as well.

    It’s lame but there’s nothing we can do about it. All of the other establishments had to serve in plastic too.

    Stop in again and I’ll buy you a round in real glasses!

    Josh Thoma

  2. knoxn

    Hey Josh,
    Oh, that rascal City of St. Paul…. I understand completely.
    No worries.

    I’ll be in again and I WILL remind you about your offer


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