Rival House in downtown Saint Paul isn’t just any sports bar. In fact, it’s not really a sports bar at all, says Brian Schmechel, general manager of the DoubleTree hotel. The restaurant, located adjacent to the hotel lobby, is a “sporting parlour” he says, and features much more than its several big-screen TVs.
Right in the heart of the city, Rival House has quickly become a local favorite for those looking for a fresh spin on a classic dining experience. “The neighborhood has really embraced it,” Schmechel says. “It’s a very interactive restaurant set in a vintage and industrial-looking space.”
Patrons can play games including chess, checkers, backgammon, life-sized Jenga, Ping Pong, skee-ball, bubble hockey and bean-bag games. As for the food, the Rival House is best known for its variety of wood-fired pizzas. The menu also features salads, sandwiches and cheese curds that Rival House sales manager Adena Byczek says are better than those at the State Fair. “And that’s saying something—[Brian and I are] both from Wisconsin,” she says.
During the winter months, private holiday parties in the Rival Room are popular. The space is also packed for Minnesota Wild hockey games. Whether it’s a date night or a night out with family or coworkers, Byczek says Rival House is all about “getting people off their cell phones” and fostering an engaging environment.
Rival House has happy hour specials seven days a week 4–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–midnight. Of 27 beers on tap, 22 are local brews from Saint Paul or Minneapolis.