Part of downtown's cruisy and campy gay entertainment strip on the edge of the Hennepin Avenue theater district, The Saloon
(830 Hennepin Ave.
, 612-332-0835) has been an extremely popular fixture here for more than three decades. It's a large space comprising a dance club, lounge, and a casual restaurant serving short-order pub fare and sandwiches. On weekends, the dance bar is one of the most popular gay clubs in the Midwest - always packed with younger guys. Go-go boys gyrate on a platform with a shower (and some nights they have amateur shower strip contests). The owners have done a good job keeping this place looking good, with an impressive sound system, a huge stone fireplace in the bar, and an impressive array of happy hour special. Pretty fun place, all in all.
The upper two floors of the bar are home to the Saloon Hotel, a budget property that's nonetheless acceptable if you just need a roof over your head and don't want to spend much. Minneapolis has no bathhouses or gay saunas, so if nothing else, the hotel is handy if you happen to meet somebody in the bar, or elsewhere in the neighborhood, and need someplace private to, eh, talk politics or play cards.