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Favorite Places for Cocktails - MSP

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I am a current Bostonian moving to Minneapolis in a few months. i have a fair amount of experience with the area since I went to college in Saint Paul and have friends that live in the area. There are a lot of places I love in the Twin Cities, but one thing I have not been able to find in MSP is really good cocktails. I have been to La Belle Vie and some of them would fit what I would call "really good", but not all of them. Great bartenders would be an added plus (and they tend to go together). I realize that I may just have been spoiled by living in Boston which has had a pretty good "revival" of cocktails. For anyone that has been to Boston and been to B-side lounge or Eastern Standard - this is the kind of place I am seeking. Any suggestions for places to try? Thanks!

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  1. Welcome to the Twin Cities. Here's a thread from a few weeks ago that might interest you.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/486459

    ~TDQ

    1. I'm not a huge fan of mixed drinks but my husband is, and he really enjoys the cocktails at Town Talk Diner. It has sort of a B-side Lounge retro feeling (I lived in Boston from 99-02), but is definitely more restaurant than dark bar. If you sit at the bar and are friendly with the bartenders they'll let you try lots of their experiments.

      1. Welcome back! Clever of you to schedule your arrival for spring. :-)

        I rarely go out for cocktails - I'm a wino and champagne-o - but I always enjoy the drinks at Jax (usually a Manhattan, scotch-and-soda, or vodka martini). This place is definitely old school and the bar is charmingly retro.

        And I had a lovely lovely lovely Saffron-Rosé-Gin cocktail last fall at Saffron Restaurant. I'd recommend checking this place out for the food as well as the drinks.

        Do please report back on your finds once you've had time for research.

        Anne

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        Saffron Restaurant & Lounge
        123 North 3rd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401

        Jax Cafe
        1928 University Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55418

        1. I'd second the recommendation of the bar at Saffron. I also like the bar at Lurcat (which, depending on when you were at college, is where the Loring Bar and Cafe used to be). Drinks are dependable at both Cosmos and Chambers as well.

          Bob

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          Chambers Kitchen
          901 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          Cafe Lurcat
          1624 Harmon Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          Cosmos Restaurant
          601 1st Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55403

          1. Laura - WELCOME

            from a former Bostonian

            I enjoy Kincaid's for an ice cold mojito & the bar space is really nice However, I'm less than excited about their food. (st paul location)

            I've had some excellent cocktails at Azia - fun combos. Smallish bar.

            At BANK recently had a blueberry something or other that hit the spot.

            I love Brit's for a Bootlegger - Vodka one - its a pint glass, filled with vodka, club soda, and a syrup made from concentrated limeade, lemonade and freshly muddled mint. Outside in the summer while you watch biz people attempt to flirt and lawn bowl - Its enjoyable. If you like Gin they have those as well.

            LBV is a fun spot for a drink as well.

            Since you are from Boston I'll even post places

            Cheers

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            Brit's Pub & Eating Establishment
            1110 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403

            Azia Restaurant
            2550 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

            BANK restaurant
            88 S 6th St, Minneapolis, MN 55402

            Kincaid's Fish Chop & Steak
            380 St. Peter Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

            1. Welcome, Laura!

              I have never had a bad Manhattan at Vincent, and the bartenders there are among the few in these towns that know that a Sidecar is not a 'Brandy (shudder) Margarita'. A friend claims that they also make the best Cosmo she has tasted, but I don't know the first thing about judging a Cosmo. Good value at happy hour, too.

              -ajs

              1. Thanks all! I am going there next week for a few days to get some stuff figured out for the move so now I have a few promising places to try. I'll let you know where I try/what I think. :-)

                1. So we tried Town Talk Diner tonight. We sat at the bar and tried one of their house drinks "Catcher in the Rye" with rye, kirsch, house-made bitters and balsamic. I liked it a lot - the bitters definitely made it more interesting. My husband also tried a Manhattan which he declared "the first proper Manhattan he'd had in MN". They gave us a small taste of the Monkey Business adult malt which was really tasty. The bartenders were nice and definitely seem to enjoy playing with cocktails, but my impression is that they are not quite as passionate as the bartenders at the places in Boston I mentioned. above. I would definitely go back, but I will also keep looking.