50 of the best places to have a cocktail in the Twin Cities metro area

For lovers of a well-mixed drink, no bottled cocktail or canned blender can duplicate the manual labor of the brains behind the bar. And after months of getting by at home, these fans are hungry for something a little different.

“People who go out, they want to pretend to be somewhere else,” said Trish Gavin, bar manager at Lat14, Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine and the soon to be opened Khâluna. Gavin meets the moment with a new tiki menu at Lemon Grass, and when Khâluna opens next month, the cocktail list will follow the Dutch East Indies trade routes from Europe to Indonesia, with each drink bursting with flavor from sailor stops. along the way. .

At the same time, drinks with fewer ingredients and fewer steps were perhaps the most people could make at home, and bartenders are finding renewed interest in classics – only better.

Another advantage of keeping things simple in the severely understaffed service industry? “You don’t put a lot of work and special ingredients into the classics,” said Travis Serbus, co-owner of Petite León. “Plus, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.”

Yet some bartenders are reinventing more than the wheel. They reinvent the way a bar works by reducing waste and fermenting rejected ingredients into something new.

Serbus forgoes garnishes in his zero-waste bar and turns citrus peels into syrups. He makes his drinks visually appealing by choosing beautiful glasses instead.

At Cardamom, bar manager Megan Luedtke presents visitors to the Walker Art Center with brines and fermented syrups that echo the flavors of the Mediterranean and Aegean Sea.

“Fermented things add so many different layers, complexity, texture,” Luedtke said. “This is the bartender’s new frontier.”

An additional bonus? Some drinks using fermented ingredients can be served without spirits without sacrificing flavor. (Fresh, modern mocktails are another rising trend in bars across the metro area.)

But whether you’re looking for a state-of-the-art concoction or a classic cocktail, cutting-edge meditation, or a mindless sensation, one thing drinkers seem to have in common is that they wanted to be dazzled. . And after the industry has been put on hold, bars are bursting with inspiration again.

Where to go for a cocktail when you want …

… snuggle up in a refuge

Basements, back rooms, lane side doors and neon-lit signs. These bars do not call for attention. Instead, they’re moody and atmospheric – you just need to know they’re there.

Basement bar at Sooki and Mimi’s, 1432 W. 31st St., Mpls., sookiandmimi.com/basement

Pebble social house, 213 3e Av. N., deputies, pavés.com

Constantine, 1115 2e Av. S., deputies, constantinempls.com

Hyde, 24 avenue de l’Université NE., Mpls., hydemn.com

Sock, 590 W. 79th St., Chanhassen, sockdolagerbar.com

… a martini and a bit of history

Whether it’s at the copper bar of Minneapolis’ oldest restaurant or a four-generation steakhouse in St. Paul, lounging in an iconic Loring Park lobby or amid the accordion tunes of a Russian Old World. gone, these institutions will transport you to another era.

Mancini’s house of tanks, 531 W. 7th St., St. Paul, mancinis.com

Monte Carlo, 219 3e Av. N., deputies, montecarlomn.com

Moscow on the Hill, 371 avenue Selby, Saint-Paul, moscowonthehill.com

Steak PS, 510 Groveland Av., Mpls., psmpls.com

… a tropical vacation

You’ll find tiki glassware, flaming limes, fruits and flowers, and more rums than you might expect at these bars / restaurants that celebrate tropical drinking traditions. Cocktails will take you to a place much warmer than Minnesota.

Hai Hai, 2121, avenue de l’Université NE., Mpls., haihaimpls.com

Hola Arepa, 3501, avenue Nicollet S., deputies, holaarepa.com

Lemongrass, 8600 Edinburgh Center Drive, Brooklyn Park, citronella.com

Pau Hana, 14435 highway. 13, wild, pauhanamn.com

Psycho Suzi, 1900 NE. Marshall St., Mpls., psychosuzis.com

… something without a mind

With the decline in alcohol consumption among the younger generations, more and more bars are getting into the zero-proof cocktail game. There has always been the Shirley Temple, but now you’ll find new and improved variations of this classic with homemade grenadine as well as fermented kombucha-type drinks; Italian sodas with inventive syrups; and smoked teas replace spirits.

eat at, 305 Washington S. Ave., MPs, helloeatompls.com

Martine, 4312 Upton Av. S., deputies, martinarestaurant.com

Norseman Distillery, 451 NE. Taft St., Mpls., norsemandistillery.com

Young Joni, 165 13th Av. NE., Mpls., youngjoni.com

… to taste spirits at the source

Due to the state’s strict laws governing what distilleries can serve, the bartenders in these cocktail rooms have to get creative, even a little experimental, to make satisfying cocktails that showcase their spirits. (Who knew radicchio could be a perfect substitute for Campari?) While you’re at it, go ahead and taste everything home-made – whiskey, gin, rum, vodka, even some unique apple liqueurs from a cider house.

Minneapolis Cider Co., 701 SE. 9th St., Mpls., minneapoliscider.co

O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co., 600 Malcolm Avenue. SE., Mpls., osdistilling.com

Artisanal spirits of the royal foundry, 241 avenue Fremont N., deputies, royalfonderiecraftspirits.com

Tattersall Distillation, 1620 central avenue NE., Mpls., tattersalldistilling.com

Twin Spirits Distillery, 2931 central avenue NE., Mpls., twinspirits.us

… to go bass in the north loop

These restaurants, bars, and downtown Minneapolis’ premier distillery are tightly packed for a high octane night without the hassle of driving.

Bars in the basement and on the roof of Nolo, 515 Washington Av. N., deputies, rooftopbarmpls.com, basementbarmpls.com

Hewing Hotel Rooftop Lounge, 300 Washington Avenue N., MPs, hewinghotel.com/hewing-rooftop-sauna

Stilheart Distillery and Cocktail Bar, 124 3rd Av. N., deputies, stilheartdistilling.com

… to stay in the suburbs

Commuters don’t have to go far to find great cocktails. These cocktails, restaurants and distillery bars light up the metro.

The alchemist, 2222 4th St., White Bear Lake, thealchemistwbl.com

Copperwing Distillery, 6409 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park, Copperwingdistillery.com

J. Carver Distillery, 1320 Mill Lane, Waconia, jcarverdistillery.com

Cocktail Lounge pocket square, 7530 42nd Av. N., New Hope, pocketsquarecocktails.com

Volstead House, 1278 Lone Oak Road, Eagan, volsteadhouse.com

… an Old Fashioned

What seems to be everyone’s favorite drink these days is enjoying a renaissance. Try it with an alcohol other than bourbon. Make him smoke. Or keep it classic.

The Butcher’s Tale, 1121 avenue Hennepin S., deputies, butcherstale.com

beautiful pig, 173 N. Western Av., St. Paul, beauhog.com

Parlor, 730 Washington Av. N., MPs; 267 W. 7th St., St. Paul, parlourbar.com

Whiskey hell, 14425 highway. 13, wild, whiskeyinferno.com

… agave

If all you know about agave spirits is that tequila goes in a margarita (and these bars have really good ones!), There is more to know about spirits derived from the Mexican succulent, its many species and the flavors they can invoke. Rattlesnake and desert rain, do you like it?

Colita, 5400 Penn Ave. S., deputies, colitampls.com

Escondido to Viv! R, 1414 avenue Quincy NE., Mpls., vivirmpls.com/escondido

Nico’s tacos, 2516 avenue Hennepin S., deputies; 2260 Como Av., St. Paul, nicostacobar.com

Tequila butcher, 590 W. 79th St., Chanhassen, tequilabutcher.com

… Japanese spirits

How about an Okinawan rum, shio koji and lime daiquiri? A peach cocktail with Suntory Haku vodka and grapefruit soju, served in a take-out paper container? Or a premium Japanese whiskey, served neat.

Gori Gori Peku, 33 1st Av. N., 2nd floor, Mpls., kadonomise.com

Sanjusan, 33 1ère Av. N., Mpls., 1st floor, sanjusanrestaurant.com

Japanese restaurant and bar Yumi, 400 Selby Av., St. Paul; 217 Water Street, Excelsior; 200 Southdale Center, Edina, yumisushibar.com

… cocktails on tap

There’s hardly any wait for pre-made cocktails at these bars that keep the right drinks on tap.

Boxcar Bar at the Market in Malcolm Yards, 501 30th Av. SE., Mpls., malcolmyards.market

First Draft faucet room and kitchen, 324 6th Av. N., deputies, firstdraftmn.com

Nighthawks Dinner and Bar, 3753 avenue Nicollet S., deputies, nighthawksdinerbar.com

… to see the autumn leaves

The metropolitan area does not have a monopoly on great cocktails. Keep these distilleries in mind if you’re branching out to enjoy Minnesota’s beautiful fall. Or really, at any time of the year.

Cantilever Distilling Co., 2078, rue Spruce, Ranier, cantileverdistillery.com

Loon Liquor Distillery, 1325 Armstrong Road, Northfield, loonliquors.com

Panthère Distillery, 300 E. Pike St., Osakis, pantherdistillery.com

RockFilter Distillery, 113 Maple Drive, Spring Grove, rockfilterdistillery.com

Vikre Distillery, 525, avenue du lac S., Duluth, vikredistillery.com

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