Guys’ Night Out: 4 Fresh Takes on Bachelor Parties
by:Eric D. Johnson
Planning a bachelor party can be a tricky business. Grooms-to-be want to have a good time without going too crazy or making their fiancée wonder what they’re up to. Yesteryear’s parties—whether tawdry, tacky or just plain boring—deserve an update. Today’s gent has plenty of ways to celebrate the new chapter in his life, all while staying on budget (and out of the doghouse). Out with the old and in with the new, we say—check out these ideas for a fun alternative to the traditional guys’ night out.
The Old: Barhopping
The New: Exploring Taprooms
Barhopping sounds a little passé, doesn’t it? Most men have their favorite spots to grab a drink or two, and when bachelor party time rolls around, it can be easy to slide into the same old routine at the same old spots. Time to shake things up.
Even if the groom and his pals have already explored the breweries around the Twin Cities (and there are plenty), chances are they haven’t experienced them the way you can with Bitter Minnesota, a service that offers craft beer tasting tours. Founded by a couple of beer nerds, Bitter Minnesota puts guests in the hands of experts and in the comfort of pre-arranged transportation.
“A Bitter Minnesota brewery tour is a great way to enjoy local craft beer, and have a unique and unforgettable experience, right here in Minneapolis,” says Bitter Minnesota’s public relations manager Marina Maric.
They offer both planned and customized tours, and they will pick up and drop off patrons pretty much anywhere their heart desires. The tours include a guide, craft beer tastings, spicy pretzels (possibly the ultimate beer pairing), and guests can bring their own brew on the bus to enjoy during the ride. They also promise stops with food trucks to make sure no one goes hungry.
Prices vary for private tours depending on party size and number of brewery stops.
The Old: Taking in a Game
The New: Playing Your Own Games
One of the most tried-and-true guys’ nights out is an evening at the ballpark or arena watching their favorite team. Enjoying the action from the seats is all well and good, but it’s even better when you can get in on it yourself.
Planning your own sports day is as simple as heading to Edina, which offers both indoor and outdoor fun. Wedding parties can start the day at Centennial Lakes Park for a classy round of mini-golf. The putting course features 18 holes (and not of the standard kitschy variety). Sand traps, ponds and trees surround each hole, like a miniature version of Augusta National. The average round takes close to two hours, so guests can take part in good-natured (or more serious) competition.
“It’s exactly like you’re on a real golf course, only with putters,” says Centennial Lakes assistant park manager Laura Knollmaier. “The greens are real grass, so you aren’t playing on a fake turf.”
After mini golf, the guys can head over to the Batting Cages of Minnesota, where they can take a swing at both baseballs and softballs, with cages that offer a ProBatter simulator to show them what it’s like to face a Major League Baseball pitcher. The facility takes reservations, so there’s no need to worry about availability.
As the day winds down and night sets in, take the party to Pinstripes for some bowling, bocce and brew. They offer a variety of event packages and private party options that include games, drinks and food.
The Old: A Trip to Vegas
The New: A Staycation Up North
The bachelor party in Vegas has always been the gold standard when it comes to the ultimate weekend away. Such a trip can easily become pricey, though, and might leave brides wondering what’s really going on in Sin City.
Instead of spending (and possibly losing) all their money on a big trip, grooms can create their own Vegas-style retreat in Minnesota. All it takes is a trip up Interstate 35 with stops at Grand Casino in Hinckley and Black Bear Casino in Carlton. Both offer standard casino fare like gambling, live shows, dining and hotel accommodations, and Black Bear has a golf course to boot. Although neither location offers bachelor-party-specific deals, they have group rates and plenty of entertainment that doesn’t break the bank. And with all the money saved on travel, the lads will be able to justify a little extra time at the blackjack table.
Besides, the casinos aren’t the final destination—Gooseberry Falls State Park is. What’s more Minnesotan than spending a day hiking and camping out in one of the best parks in Minnesota? With a couple of cases of beer, bonding with the boys in the great outdoors, grooms will feel sufficiently prepared for the big day.
The Old: Separate Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
The New: Combining Your Parties
As yesterday’s traditions fade away, more couples are opting for joint parties. The sky’s the limit when it comes to celebrating together.
You can spend a portion of the day apart (think spa days for the ladies and golfing for the gents) and meet up later for dinner and drinks, or everyone can spend the whole day together. How about an outing of Team Bride vs. Team Groom activities? Bar games, golf, bowling, paintball—there’s no limit to what you can do.
If you and your beau are looking for some unique, lighthearted competition, try WhirlyBall in Maple Grove. Combining bumper cars with lacrosse, WhirlyBall offers entertainment for athletes and the athletically challenged alike. For those looking for a cultural experience, consider spending a day exploring one of the Twin Cities’ many museums (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Minnesota Museum of American Art, to name a few) or taking in a concert at one of the stellar music venues (First Ave., anyone?). Those looking to indulge their playful side would do well to consider Valleyfair. After all, a little innocent fun never hurt anybody.