Psycho Suzi’s Patio – A Riverfront Paradise

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Part two of my ode to Psycho Suzi’s in Minneapolis continues with their patio. I love that there’s dark, atmospheric tiki bars here but also a tropical-style setting where you can enjoy the sunshine and water when the weather is right (probably not now, though).

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According to this informative StarTribune article, the 7,000-square-foot terrace can seat more than 300 people. There’s a thatched hut plus lots of palapa umbrellas, tiki torches and a big Ku (photo below).

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It may look familiar if you watched the season premiere of “Bizarre Foods” that aired last week. In this Twin Cities episode, host Andrew Zimmern and Psycho Suzi’s owner Leslie Bock were judges for a hot dish cooking competition so the show did a quick intro about her tiki bar.

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Just like in the adjacent dining room there were some things I recognized from the original location of Psycho Suzi’s, such as these Moai that are now clustered together back to back.

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A sign said “Seat yourself” and I can imagine that in the summertime there’s a lot of competition over snagging the best seats. The temperature was in the 60s or so during our visit but some folks were out there making the best of it. I’m sure the rum in a tiki drink or two could help ward off the chill.

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You can have a front row seat for the Mississippi River, and the goings-on at the scrapyard directly across from the restaurant.

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In the spring there’s going to be a dock where skippers can leave their boats and stop in for some grog. (Something to keep in mind as the parking lot out front can get rather full…)

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It was neat to spot a Mai Tiki by the outside entrance to the terrace. I have a somewhat similar one that we picked up at the Wayne Coombs’ gallery in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

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Not only are four-legged friends welcome on the patio, but they even have three different kinds of dog food available for them. Just when I thought this place couldn’t get any more awesome I’d find another thoughtful touch like this.

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After a leisurely lunch and browse through the gift shop, there was still a few more hours until the Shangri-la tiki bars upstairs opened. It was a gorgeous day so we explored the nearby Old St. Anthony district and Nicollet Island before heading BACK to Psycho Suzi’s. We weren’t quite ready to head back to reality just yet…

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Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge – Minneapolis, MN

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Forget the Mall of America — if you’re in the Twin Cities you have to check out Psycho Suzi’s. A little more than a year ago they moved to this larger location that was just a few blocks away. Starting with the giant roadside sign redone with their logo tiki it was clear Psycho Suzi’s had come back bigger and better.

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This space in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District was previously a saloon-turned-hiphop-club named Gabby’s, but apparently it was originally designed to be a church. (This is fairly obvious from the outside.) Making the move more than quadrupled Psycho Suzi’s inside capacity, not to mention the 300-plus seats on the terrace.

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As if that weren’t noteworthy enough, there’s also a big waterfall fountain in the lobby, views of the Mississippi from the riverfront patio, a gift shop with greatly expanded signature merchandise, and three tiki bars upstairs in “Shangri-la” that are only open Friday and Saturday nights. (We were there in October, hence the Halloween decorations.)

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They seem to have a tongue-in-cheek attitude about the whole tiki theme, but you can tell that there’s true passion for it lurking underneath the ironic front. I was instantly charmed by the custom-designed carpet that resembles wooden planks with nails, like the deck of a ship.

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It looks like most of the decor from the previous location, including the Mender of Broken Dreams neon sign above the bar, made it over here. So even though the dining room was much larger, it still felt familiar. (Check out my past Psycho Suzi’s post if you want to see how the original looked.)

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The downstairs area had retro brown vinyl seating juxtaposed with lauhala matted walls, tiki masks backed with leopard print shields, a curtain of bamboo pieces, and shelves of mugs, plus those lamps I love, giant wooden forks and spoons, and other tiki art.

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The Psycho Zombie Slush, a slushie made with rum (possibly overproof), lime, cola and cherry flavors, will set you up for a brain freeze, sugar rush and future hangover all at the same time! I can’t for the life of me remember what drink I ordered but I do recall that it was good. Judging by the mug, I’m guessing it was The Native’s Curse: “mango and lemon tropical rum swill.”

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They also demonstrate their sense of humor with the food. There’s self-described “trashy” appetizers like Potluck Pickle Roll-ups with ham and cream cheese (a.k.a. Minnesota Sushi) and Red Rockets, which are lightly beer-battered cocktail weenies served with honey mustard. Both were fine but next time I’ll opt for the fried cheese curds and bacon-wrapped smokies we tried on our first visit.

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The Suzi Burger with caramelized onions, provolone and red pepper mayo definitely packed some heat. There’s also salads, sandwiches and pizzas (both regular and a version of deep dish). If we hadn’t been so stuffed with tater tots I would have gone for the deep-fried Snickers bar for dessert.

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I was so impressed Psycho Suzi’s that it’s now taking spot #4 in my power rankings for the best tiki bars in the United States, bringing some geographical diversity to that list. It’s well worth a visit for the atomic-inflected tiki decor, fun food, decent drinks and tons of signature merch.

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Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
1900 Marshall St. NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
612-788-9069

Tiki on TV: “Archer” on FX Edition

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By now I think we’ve had the following one-sided conversation with practically all our friends and acquaintances: “Do you watch ‘Archer’? You-have-to-watch-Archer-it’s-so-funny-you’ll-love-it-the-first-season-is-on-Netflix-Instant-go-home-and-watch-it-now!”

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There’s a warning before each episode telling you there’ll be violence, strong language and adult situations. What more could you want? The title character, Sterling Archer, is like James Bond in cartoon form but way more narcissistic and cocky. (Phrasing!) And also hilarious, as are the rest of the oddballs employed with him at the ISIS spy agency.

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There’s a mod 1960’s vibe to the show that I of course enjoy. The ISIS office looks straight out of “Mad Men” — and not just because these characters are also constantly boozing. Sterling’s mother/boss, Malory Archer, has a chair that looks like a variation of the Eames Lounge. The art director talked about his mid-century modern influences in this interview on the Archer production blog.

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You can also spot this Moai bookend on the shelf in a lot of the episodes. (There’s your tiki connection, my friends.)

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New episodes of “Archer” season three start airing Thursday, January 19 at 10 p.m. on FX. Tune in and spare yourself from me bugging you about it next time we meet. Then we can just talk about how great it is instead.