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Centro Is Opening a Divey New Bar in Northeast Minneapolis

Plus, Lake Minnetonka’s Vann Restaurant is closing, and a slate of October openings approach

A basket of French fries and a burger, a pint of beer, and pull tabs on a grey counter.
Pull tabs and burgers at Bina’s.
Centro Restaurant Group
Justine Jones is the editor of Eater Twin Cities.

Centro Restaurant Group has announced it’ll open a new bar next to its Quincy Street restaurant early next year. Bina’s, named for owner Jami Olson’s grandparents, isn’t trying to reinvent the classic dive bar — just to reimagine it, adding “fresh and refined touches,” according to a press release. There will be Hamm’s, burgers, and pull tabs.

Northeast Minneapolis, of course, is the heart of the city’s dive bar scene, home to 331 Club, Vegas Lounge, Dusty’s, Grumpy’s, Tony Jaro’s, and many others. Creating a new dive from scratch might seem a little fraught in a neighborhood so attached to its time-worn spots — but Olson said in a statement that Bina’s is a nod to Northeast. It’s shaping up to be bigger than its dive counterparts, with seating for 108 and bar stools for 22. Besides the requisite burgers and beer, Bina’s will serve bar snacks like mozzarella sticks and fried pickles (ordered via QR code) and have a selection of cocktails and local beers on tap. This is Centro’s latest move in its steady expansion around the metro — since opening as a taco-focused Mexican restaurant in 2018, it has opened Vivir bakery, added new locations on Eat Street and in Highland Park, and debuted EveryWhen, a counter serving burgers, tater tots, and banana cream pie.

Lake Minnetonka’s Vann Restaurant is taking a bow

Chef Eric Skaar was a 2022 James Beard semifinalist for his work at Vann, the Lake Minnetonka restaurant with a tight menu of seafood dishes that interwove Japanese and Scandinavian influences. Skaar worked under Minneapolis chefs Paul Berglund (the Bachelor Farmer) and Steven Brown (Tilia) before striking out on his own with Vann. He announced the closure on Instagram on September 25. “We are endlessly thankful to everyone who came and spent an evening with us and are grateful for all the relationships and friendships we’ve created along the way,” the statement reads. Vann’s last day of service will be October 29.

LITT Pinball Bar is set to open in the old Liquor Lyle’s

LITT Pinball Bar has spent more than a year rehabbing the former Liquor Lyle’s — one of Minneapolis’s most beloved dive bars — into a pinball bar. There was little news of an opening until this past weekend, when LITT announced a grand opening date of October 11 on Instagram. (The first tournament will be held on October 14.) Elsewhere around south Minneapolis, D’s Banh Mi is readying for a grand opening October 12, after about a year of construction-related delays. El Sazon Cocina & Tragos is hoping to open in Tangletown on October 18, and during a to-be-determined week of October, Sooki & Mimi will convert to chef Ann Kim’s eponymous Korean American restaurant, Kim’s.