Prohibition might be a thing of the past, but it certainly left its mark on American culture. Recalling the days when gangsters, celebrities, politicians, and general rabble-rousers were forced to do their drinking in secret, these bars are modeled after the speakeasies of that bygone era. The subterranean vibe of these bars is much unlike your average sports bar, lounge, or saloon. You might feel like you should throw on a zoot suit and start dancing the Charleston, but really, they’re best for just kicking back and relaxing with a well-crafted cocktail.
730 Washington Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
A simple, yet elegant design defines your surroundings at Parlour. Simple and elegant can also be used to describe the cocktail list here as well. Not trying to do too much, the experts behind the bar at Parlour will have the perfect drink for you, like a classic cocktail experience using just the right ingredients, and more than likely will remember it for next time. The service matches the quality of the drinks, and hanging out the bar can often be more fun than settling into one of those big leather chairs. The food, especially the burger, is fantastic as well.
408 St. Peter St.
St Paul, MN 55102
Hosting pop-up events, like a Mardi Gras show on Fat Tuesday, or hosting Heiruspecs and Pavi Elle for a Lowertown Line shooting, as well as other acts as part of the “Room With a Vieux” series. Located in the space that once housed the beloved Artists’ Quarter, Vieux Carre, under the ownership of the Dakota Jazz Club, is adding a small kitchen to supplement its excellent cocktails program, and hopes to make an even bigger impact in a city that once thrived on sexy, underground entertainment. Look for regular hours coming soon.
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The Lounge at Public Kitchen and Bar
229 6th St. E.
St Paul, MN 55101
Adding its name to the growing roster of quality Lowertown bar and eateries, Public opened almost a year ago and has proven itself to be a great spot for lunch, brunch or dinner. Downstairs from the restaurant, however, lies the real gem. A lounge through and through, put your feet up and enjoy prohibition-era cocktails, small plates, soft jazz overhead in a setting that truly embodies swanky. Here, you want to see and be seen for old money, or the nouveau riche, or just anyone looking for a late night drink. They serve food until 2 a.m. as well, offering a midnight snack to those creatures of the night.
Related: Best Cocktail Bars In Minnesota
50 2nd Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
No stranger to “best of” lists, Marvel Bar changed the game when it opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop in 2011. No longer much of a secret, Marvel’s purple door gives way into one of the most cocktail-centric bars in the Midwest. You’re not coming here for a quick beer or that glass of vinho verde. The low lights and comfortable seating that just begs you to relax for an hour or two longer than planned make this a very welcoming bar that still has the sophistication and design that lends itself to a romantic evening on the town.
Coming Soon: Volstead’s Emporium
711 Lake St. W.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
The Lyn-Lake neighborhood of Minneapolis will soon have its own speakeasy. The bar, cleverly named Volstead’s Emporium, will have its door hidden in the alley, so only those in the loop will know where to find this spot – although in the Twin Cities these things spread like wildfire. Also featuring live music, the classic ambiance of a bygone era is sure to be in full swing here.
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Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.