Local Current Blog

Best Twin Cities spots to eat and hang out: Bad Bad Hats share their picks

Bad Bad Hats in The Current's studios. Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR.

On a Saturday morning you’re likely to find Kerry Alexander, Noah Boswell, and Chris Hoge enjoying the view of the mighty Mississippi over a pulled pork hash at the Mill City Farmers market. These three Minneapolis-based musicians are better known as the indie rock band Bad Bad Hats.

They released their first album Psychic Reader on July 17 and are heading out on the road this fall, but for the time being, the band—who met as students at Macalester College—have much to enjoy around the Twin Cities.

Though Bad Bad Hats enjoy a weekend stop at the Farmer’s Market, the band also like to hit up one of their favorite local spots for breakfast—which is definitely the most important meal of the day, according to these rockers.

“We do a lot of breakfast eating on the weekend,” said Alexander.

Hoge said when the band used to practice on Saturday mornings, they always made sure to make a stop at Band Box Diner before practice.

Now, the band frequents Moose and Sadie’s for huevos rancheros, according to Alexander—and Boswell is partial to Al’s Breakfast.

Later in the day, the trio enjoy afternoon strolls around the Minneapolis lakes—one in particular, close to a bookstore run by acclaimed local writer Louise Erdrich.

Alexander said, “No shade towards Calhoun or Harriet, but we like Lake of the Isles. There’s a really nice bookstore over there, Birchbark Books. It’s a nice place to end up, do a little book perusing. We always end up realizing we have 50 books at home that we haven’t read so we are like,  ‘We should read more,’ and then we walk home and that’s the cycle of every weekend.”

When they’re in the neighborhood, the band typically make a stop at Twin Town Guitars, according to Hoge.

From there, they often stop at Bull Run Coffee, which is right across the street from Twin Town.  “It’s a bundled deal,” said Alexander. “All their stuff is really good. I get an iced vanilla latte there—always solid.”

As Boswell notes, though, “There are competing coffee shops in this band.”

Five Watt Coffee is another band favorite. “That places rules,” said Hoge.

“They’re both pretty high up on my list. I love an Iced Kingfield from Five Watt, thank you and goodnight. That Himalayan sea salt on top! It’s like every time I sip it I’m like, ‘What? What am I drinking right now?’ It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s creamy, it’s unbelievable!”

The band typically practice on Mondays and Wednesdays, and inevitably they go out to eat before every practice.

“We learned that Maya Cuisine in Northeast [Minneapolis] on Central has a two burritos for $10 deal on Mondays,” says Hoge. “We’re like ‘Great, let’s go there and get burritos.’”

Since they go to Maya on Mondays, they make sure to stop at their other favorite spot on Wednesdays: Punch Pizza.

“I can’t even think of another place we go to,” said Bosewell.

Alexander said, “They know us. They love us. Always tasty, always good.”

If the band’s going out at night, they also have a couple favorite venues around town they like to hit up or even play at themselves.

“My favorite in St. Paul is the Turf Club, hands down, and my favorite in Minneapolis would be 7th Street,” said Boswell.

Alexander said, “7th Street is nice because it feels fuller easier, which is always nice, and people are sort of forced to be close to you, which is good. We’ve played a fair amount of [venues], but 7th Street is certainly the classic.”

The Kitty Cat Klub in Dinkytown is another favorite venue for watching shows, especially because sitting is an option.

Alexander said, “I like anywhere I can sit down. I need to take a load off. My legs aren’t what they used to be, you know?”

Bad Bad Hats do have some favorite hang out spots that they like to keep secret, but it’s an open secret that you can often find them hanging out at the Minnehaha Falls dog park.

“Probably people who have dogs, this is not a secret at all to them,” said Alexander, but “you really feel like you’re experiencing nature and you’re surrounded by dogs so that’s like two for the price of one.”

Boswell also fancies walking around the Falls down to the river with his new corgi—and even making trips to Fort Snelling State Park.

The band likes MSP for more than its coffee shops and parks, though.

“The [music scene] infrastructure here is amazing,” said Alexander. “I take it for granted when we leave to go play shows and the signal goes away and we’re like, ‘What happened? Where did it all go?’ The network of people here is great.”

Alexander said, “There’s a really supportive community here, but there’s room for everyone to breathe, do their own thing, and have their own sound. Two thumbs up to the Twin Cities music scene.”

You can catch Bad Bad Hats tonight at their album release show at Icehouse—or on Friday, Sept. 18 at the 7th Street Entry with the Mynabirds. Listen to The Current’s Local Show (6:00-8:00 p.m.) this Sunday, Aug. 16 to hear an in-studio session with the band.

Sadie Bell, of Wayzata, is a college student at The New School in New York City.