Friday, July 22, 2011

11 Guilty Pleasures: Bromance

Once in a while, guys have to leave the ladies at home and enjoy some time in the testosterone-infused side of the Twin Cities! I've scoped out where to take your "bro" for boys-only debauchery.

The Haberdashery

The Haberdashery is a one-stop shop for all things old-fashioned and testosterone-infused. Located in the heart of downtown St. Paul inside the historic Hamm building, this business is an oasis of style for the distinguished gentleman.

Treat yourself to a traditional shave with hot towel wrap and straight razor shave, stock up on cigars in the store’s humidor and shop for your next three-piece. The store’s clothing line is sourced from Montreal and can be purchased on a made-to-order and made-to-measure basis. In 2009, they launched a Hunt & Travel department.

For those craving eye candy, the Haberdashery presents Cabaret & Stage shows featuring local performers, singers, magicians and dancers. Seating is available for 85-100 people. Fashions shows are also a regular occurrence at the shop; clients can preview the Spring and Autumn Collections during trunk shows and on Haberdashery’s own runway.

Ax-Man Surplus Stores

Money burning a hole in your pocket? Missing a crucial part for your modern art masterpiece? Simply feel like adding another googly eye to your collection? A trip to Ax-Man is in order. This University Avenue staple (now with additional locations in St. Louis Park and Crystal) is filled to the brim with thing-a-ma-jigs, doo-dads and other assorted tinker toys for grown-ups. Yes, you’ll have to sift through barrels of crap, but one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and the hnt is half the fun. Like snooping through your grandpa’s workshop, Ax-man is rich with gadgets and whatchamacallits you never knew you needed. It’s also a bargain hunter’s paradise with the Ax-man Dozen (13 whatevers for the price of 12!), so gather your like-minded buddies and have a shopping spree. Have junk to unload? Ax-Man also buys and sells your stuff. Stop in and chat with the friendly staff or visit their website for more info.

Ryan Traster

Though Ryan Traster might not be the first name you pull out of your hat when you decide to hit the music scene with your crew, there’s a thirteen-year history behind the moody crooner and his right-hand man, Michael McGarthwaite.

Traster is a Minnesota bred singer-songwriter-guitarist who splits his time between The Big Apple and The Mini-Apple. Nomadic in spirit, Traster’s music is grounded with twangy instrumentation, swoon-worthy tenor and mournful Americana melody.

Aside from his instrumental support (on electric guitars, pedal steel, and banjo), McGarthwaite acts as an anchor for Traster’s wandering ways.

“We were separated for a while,” Traster says. “It was painful. Without Mike, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be…in a bad place.”

“And without Ryan,” McGarthwaite echoes, “I would be just another boring suburban guy.”

These two musicians are the epitome of opposites attracting. McGarthwaite is a straight-laced, wholesome Midwesterner who married his high school sweetheart and has a day job as a teacher.

“When I’m not rocking out or recovering from a hangover,” McGarthwaite says. “I do yard work.”

The one wild side (literally) of McGarthwaite--and a shared passion of the BFF’s--is a love of ink, though even then, the tat covering the right side of McGarthwaite’s ribcage is not so naughty; it’s his grandmother’s portrait.
In addition to McGarthwaite, Traster relies on Marc Perlman (of The Jayhawks) for assistance on bass, Peter Anderson (of The Honeydogs, Polara, Golden Smog) on drums and percussion and Jim O’Neill on keyboards. The band’s latest EP, The Tourists, was recorded at Flowers Studio in Minneapolis and produced by Ed Ackerson. Traster and company play the 7th Street Entry on July 31st.

Los Campeones

A Twin Cities staple for twenty-seven years, Los Campeones is one of the few locally owned gyms in the state. Boasting two levels, 7700 square feet and access 365 days a year for circuit training, boot camp, boxing and supplement shopping, you can’t beat this body-building haven.

Stella’s Fish Cafe

There's nothing fishy about Stella's; this trendy Uptown fish cafe is the place to put the “fun” in your TGIF celebration. Friday's special is the Oyster Orgy Happy Hour: fresh oysters are 69 cents a piece and bar beverages are 2 for 1. The much-buzzed-about rooftop patio is open until midnight, so bring your all your brothers-from-another-mother and hit the deck. Surrounded by the city’s sexiest singles, chances are you won’t be going home with the boys.


Feed your need for speed at Ducati Minneapolis! Aside from a flashy stock of drool-worthy crotch rockets, the store features a plethora of gear, knowledgeable salespeople and regular organized rides for all levels of motorcycle enthusiasts.

The next upcoming events on Ducati’s calendar are at the Dakota County Technical College track on Friday, July 29th and Friday, August 12th. Riding begins at 4:00 PM and ends at dusk. Register in person at the store’s Uptown location or by phone (612-746-5116). Walk-up registration at DCTC is welcome only if space is available.

Metro Gun Club

Few activities get a guy’s blood pumping like shooting a firearm. The Metro Gun Club in Blaine is open seven days a week, year-round and does not require a membership. The club features Trap and Skeet fields, a 75-foot Duck Tower, four different 5-Stand Sporting Clays courses, Wobble Trap and Wobble Skeet fields. The 50-foot pistol range has 14 lanes to accommodate different calibers of pistols and every experience level, from beginners to expert marksmen.


Skinner’s is a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall whose word-of-mouth recommendations have spread across the state. Belly up to the blue collar bar on a Monday and get a large one-topping pizza and an 8-piece box of chicken for $16.50. Wednesday is Steak Night: starting at 5:00 PM, an 8-ounce sirloin, soup or salad, potato, vegetable and bread are yours for only $9.95. Thursday features “Mugaritas” plus free chips and salsa. If your buddy happens to be pint-sized, stop by on Sundays between 5:00 and 9:00 PM, when kids eat free from the kids menu. Make any other day of the week special with Skinner’s beloved Reuben sandwich.

Urban Assault Ride

Grab two wheels, a partner and go!

The Urban Assault Ride™ is the biggest bicycle scavenger hunt series in the nation. On July 31st, Twin Cities participants will embark in pairs on a city-wide quest for checkpoints. Bikes are abandoned at each checkpoint as participants complete an obstacle course, then it’s time to remount and find the next checkpoint. Riders choose the order of their stops and the duo that finishes fastest wins! Post-race, New Belgium Brewing Company will host an after-party and raffle.

Each participant receives a t-shirt, zip pouch by Green Guru Gear, Jack Link's beef jerky, Clif Bars, UAR stickers, New Belgium beer, snacks and raffle tickets. Proceeds benefit MORC and MOCA.

The Soundtown Music Festival

Hit the road, Jack, and head for the Somerset Amphitheater in Somerset, Wisconsin, where the first ever Soundtown Music Festival is taking place August 19th and 20th. The jam-packed line-up features national acts like the The Flaming Lips, New Pornographers, DeVotchKa and Delta Spirit alongside local darlings Solid Gold, Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons, Heiruspecs, Roma di Luna and Pink Mink, among many others. Rock out during the day; sleep under the stars at night. The beer will be flowing as freely as the Apple River, where tubing is also an option.