Pimento Jamaican Kitchen’s rum bar is now open at 2524 Nicollet Avenue and serving a formidable lineup of Jamaican rum, jerk sauce, and live music seven days a week.
The restaurant began when Tomme Beevas moved from Kingston to Minnesota and met next door neighbor Yoni Reinharz. The two teamed up with the idea of bringing Jamaican classic dishes to the North. They competed on, and won, a Food Network show to win a year’s free rent in a mall foodcourt. They took that success and opened the Nicollet Avenue location, a food truck soon followed. There’s also another location planned for the new Keg & Case food hall.
Chris Greenfield, former bar manager at Icehouse and alumni of Eat Street Social, Saffron and First Avenue, runs the show at the new Pimento rum bar. He met the owners of Pimento when they were building out the Eat Street location.
“I told them we could have 200+ rums and be the place to go for rum, or we could keep it small and in line with what Pimento is already known for,” says Greenfield. Right now that means 22 bottles of Jamaican rum. Greenfield explains why this matters: the sugar cane species of each island has unique characteristics; Jamaican imparts a distinct caramel flavor.
The menu consists of 10 cocktails, ranging in price from $10-12, save for the rum punch at $9. Combine a tropical fruit blend with house-made grenadine, rum, and fresh citrus for a drink that Greenfield describes as “very fruit forward, but also very boozy. It’s a very traditional Jamaican punch—it’s dangerous.” Kind of like wop.
Greenfield is making all the mixers including grenadine, rum cream, and a sorrel drink with dried hibiscus petals, to the Kola-tonic that incorporates bona-fide grated Kola nut folded into caramel and made into a syrup that’s mixed with soda water. This is not your mother’s rum and coke.
Greenfield worked with Dashfire to create a bitters blend specifically for the new bar. The liquid is bright red with allspice, lime, grapefruit, hibiscus, star anise and bay leaf.
Rum bar hours are 4 pm until 2 am, with the full restaurant menu available until 10 pm when the kitchen closes. After hours Jamaican bar food follows for the rest of the night, accompanied by live music every single day of the week.
And then there’s the patio. Pimento rum bar’s narrow back hallway opens up into a massive outdoor space with a big, green stage. Behind the stage is a mural of notable Jamaicans, and everything from the picnic tables to the Kingston murals is bright yellow, green, and red. In fact, the entire patio is walled in by murals giving tribute to Jamaica. The back patio will have a full bar and grill, and a bonfire when the sun goes down.