More than a sports bar

Updated: April 26, 2007 - 1:56 pm

At Champps, partying in a skinny alley is friendlier than you might think


100 N. 6th St.


When you mix an outside patio with beer and live music, it's hard to go wrong. Summer nights at Champps are cranking, and draw an especially social crowd to the sometimes-sedentary sports bar.

What's hot

As we all know, Minnesotans can't get enough of their outside, summer fun. Sandwiched between two brick buildings in Butler Square, Champps is the perfect place to relish the warm days before it's time to suit up in boots and snowsuits again.

Although sometimes cast with a bad rap as a cookie-cutter sports bar, there's no doubt Champps has atmosphere. It's sort of like you're having you're very own block party, crammed in the skinny alley with 100 or so of your closest friends (that you haven't yet met.)

Live music from 6 String Playground on Saturdays and spinning from the deejay D'Angelo on Fridays keeps people dancing and drinking.

Mostly it's the 20-somethings that feel right at home, as their crowd rules the roost on weekends.

One customer, Matt, 24, explains this well: "Cold beer. Cool bands. Fresh air. Period."

What's not

Champps is still a sports bar, not exactly dripping with character, class or prestige.

Copious amounts of light beer is slung across the bar and there's a fair amount of scoping for the opposite sex.

If you're not into this, Champps is not your place.

The scene

Nighttime at Champps is a little like your birthday parties as a kid - carefully planned, yet a little rowdy when everyone gets sugared (read: liquored) up. At this party, however, everyone is quite friendly and willing to share.

The weekly line-up looks good: Tuesday nights it's a Texas Hold'em tourney; Wednesdays, karaoke; Thursdays, a band plays; Friday D'Angelo the DJ spins, and on Saturday 6 String Playground, a string guitar band, plays all your favorite cover tunes.

Champps wins with those who feel a little too old for the Drink or Rosen's meat-markets, but don't want to be chillin' with the trendy crowds at Spin or Bar Fly, or with the older, more sophisticated folks at Bellanotte.

Inside, of course, Champps is a sports bar, so you can catch any game worth watching.

The crowd

Since it's a sports bar, Champps definitely draws in men. Inside, it's anybody's guess who'll be bellied up to the bar, as there are a lot of work happy hours that help span the generations. Late-night, especially outside, the 20-somethings take over.

Drinks and hours

Champps isn't the strongest when it comes to downtown drink specials, but they're not out to rob you like some of the hoity-toity spots.

Tap beers are $4, a mixed drink around $4.75, which are said to be good and stiff. Happy Hour deals are OK, $1-off beer and liquor, half-priced appetizers, and runs 4-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. On Mondays, there are $10 margarita specials, Wednesdays a special on Captain private stock for $6. Each night, you get to keep the glass.

The food is basic bar fare - not especially delightful, but will do the trick if you're looking for a pile of nachos, potato skins or a burger to stuff in your stomach.

There's a $2 cover Saturday nights, and $3 on Fridays to see D'Angelo.

Champps is open six days a week, but opens on Sundays only for special events.

The verdict

Champps exists for those beer-drinking, sports-loving guys and the ladies who want to meet them. Hit it up in the summer for maximum enjoyment. Just don't forget your party hat.