Last weekend I went exploring downtown Fargo. I just turned 21 last month and I haven’t gone out much since, so the downtown bar scene is still pretty foreign to me. Honestly, the downtown-after-ten scene is kind of a mixed bag but, after visiting most of the hotspots I think there is definitely something for everyone. Personally, my favorite downtown hotspot so far is the Hotel Donaldson (HoDo) lounge.
The lounge is attached to the main restaurant and hotel on the corner of 1st Ave and Broadway. It’s not like your stereotypical college bar where people are pressing in on every side of you and the music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think. The HoDo is a really low key place where you can sit down, relax, and have a drink with a couple of friends. The interior of the lounge has a cool, young vibe to it and is full of comfy couches in the windows and some really eclectic art on the walls. There are some pieces featuring a bunch of knick knacks – everything from tiny shopping carts to old wedding cake toppers.
My favorite piece of art is a full canvas featuring a black and white photo of a homeless man with a sign saying, “Why lie, I need a beer.” This photo is surrounded by dollar bills that customers have taped around it. The lounge also hosts events like art shows and concert nights featuring music from local bands. The atmosphere does come with a price though. The HoDo definitely isn’t the cheapest bar around. Cocktails and martinis cost around $7 – $10, while beer and wine cost about $5 – $8 on average. Another downside is that it’s often really crowded during “normal” bar hours – if you go around 10, you will probably have a hard time finding a table. I’d recommend making it either a first or last stop to get decent seating.
As far as drinks go, there is quite a lot of variety, but it’s primarily a martini or a cocktail bar. Most recently, I had an Asian Pear martini, which was delicious – fruity, but not too sweet. They also serve a few seasonal drinks, such as pumpkin buttered rum and a hot chocolate with marshmallow crème liqueur. You can see their full menu on their website here.
I know this sounds pretty good, and about now the under 21 crowd might be feeling left out. Don’t worry! HoDo is open for lunch during the day, so you can enjoy the atmosphere without the alcohol. You can see that menu here. If any over 21 Cobbers are in need of a night out, I would recommend that you add the HoDo lounge to your list.