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Drink in style without breaking the bank.
Drink in style without breaking the bank.
Joy Summers

8 Outstanding, Affordable Cocktail Bars

Class doesn't have to cost so much.

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Drink in style without breaking the bank.
| Joy Summers

Getting cheap drinks is no longer limited to a can of domestic beer and a single shot of rail whiskey (although that combination can be amazing).  Minneapolis has an extensive supply of well-managed cocktail programs, locally made spirits, and the desire of hard-working people to enjoy a variety of libations.  This setting makes conditions perfect for anyone with Rockefeller tastes and a Dickensian budget to get an amazing drink.

It can be embarrassing to ask which drink is cheap or what the specials are.  Skip that awkward step and visit places where the value is built in and the drinks are amazing.  Many restaurants in Minneapolis have high-quality cocktails using unique ingredients such as, lime acid or South African tea cordials, and are always priced under $9.

While saving money for the inevitable Trumpocolypse is paramount, someone could alternatively save for a cab ride home, a better tip to the smiling barkeep, or to buy your neighbor a drink.  Relax at one of these great Minneapolis bars and enjoy a craft cocktail at great price; it will be a rewarding experience.

—Article by Jon Robinson


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Tattersall Distilling

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The brilliant innovation is always on display at this Northeast Minneapolis cocktail room, and the prices are right. Try the gimlet for $8 with gin and a rooibos-lime cordial (rooibos is a South African mellow tea) or get an $8 Humdinger with vodka, strawberry, balsamic, and rosewater.
Joy Summers

Hi-Lo Diner

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If eating at the place Adele ate isn’t enough to get you there, then the prices should. At $7.50, the Hi-Loma is a refreshing tequila cocktail with grapefruit and a hint of spice. Secret of the pros, visit Sunday through Thursday from 2-5 p.m. and get this cocktail for $3.75.

Mercado

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Why not go to a place where you can get a fantastic, quickly served cocktail for $10? Mercado uses Old Grand-Dad 100 and Jim Beam Rye Whiskey for it's signature Old Fashioned. There is also a French 75 with gin, lemon, ginger, and sparkling wine for $8 is a great refreshing option.

Young Joni

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This restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis features a cocktail list containing mostly $9 drinks. The smoky and spicy Paloma is on tap with tequila, mezcal, grapefruit, and a chili tincture. The Sarsaparilla is a refreshing cocktail with bourbon, house made sarsaparilla soda (root beer is modeled after the sarsaparilla flavor) and Italian vermouth.

Hola Arepa

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This Latin-inspired restaurant’s cocktail list is always $9 and has a limited happy hour list from 3 to 6 p.m. for $6. The cocktails are appropriately rum and tequila heavy. Here they take classic cocktails and change the base spirits to reflect island life. The Oaxacan Manhattan has tequila, mezcal, and two types of vermouth or an Hola Fashioned has aged rum, house-made bitters, and a smoky scotch rinse.
Joy Summers

Volstead's Emporium

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An old fashioned is the staple and trendy cocktail lately, much like vodka was 20 years ago, and can be overpriced simply because of the name. Volstead’s old fashioned mixes Cabin Still bourbon and a smoked demerara (more fancy sugar from South America) syrup for $9. Find this place in Uptown close to the Lyndale and Lake Street intersection, but don’t look for their sign, look for a grey door, a red light, and no sign.

Norseman Distillery

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If you find yourself close to the University of Minnesota campus, and are okay with bearded bartenders, stop by Norseman Distillery. At $9, their Luxe cocktail is a tart play on a whiskey sour with Norseman’s own whiskey, lemon juice, and plantain amarro (amarro is an Italian bitter liqueur).

Nightingale

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A full cocktail list for $8.50 is a rare occurrence in the restaurant world. Nightingale’s Sazerac with 100 proof Old Overholt rye, makes the novice smile with the balance of a proper cocktail at a great price. For someone who doesn’t want to be too adventurous, the Manhattan cocktail here is made with Maker’s Mark, which is a rarity at this price point.
Joy Summers

Tattersall Distilling

The brilliant innovation is always on display at this Northeast Minneapolis cocktail room, and the prices are right. Try the gimlet for $8 with gin and a rooibos-lime cordial (rooibos is a South African mellow tea) or get an $8 Humdinger with vodka, strawberry, balsamic, and rosewater.
Joy Summers

Hi-Lo Diner

If eating at the place Adele ate isn’t enough to get you there, then the prices should. At $7.50, the Hi-Loma is a refreshing tequila cocktail with grapefruit and a hint of spice. Secret of the pros, visit Sunday through Thursday from 2-5 p.m. and get this cocktail for $3.75.

Mercado

Why not go to a place where you can get a fantastic, quickly served cocktail for $10? Mercado uses Old Grand-Dad 100 and Jim Beam Rye Whiskey for it's signature Old Fashioned. There is also a French 75 with gin, lemon, ginger, and sparkling wine for $8 is a great refreshing option.

Young Joni

This restaurant in Northeast Minneapolis features a cocktail list containing mostly $9 drinks. The smoky and spicy Paloma is on tap with tequila, mezcal, grapefruit, and a chili tincture. The Sarsaparilla is a refreshing cocktail with bourbon, house made sarsaparilla soda (root beer is modeled after the sarsaparilla flavor) and Italian vermouth.

Hola Arepa

This Latin-inspired restaurant’s cocktail list is always $9 and has a limited happy hour list from 3 to 6 p.m. for $6. The cocktails are appropriately rum and tequila heavy. Here they take classic cocktails and change the base spirits to reflect island life. The Oaxacan Manhattan has tequila, mezcal, and two types of vermouth or an Hola Fashioned has aged rum, house-made bitters, and a smoky scotch rinse.
Joy Summers

Volstead's Emporium

An old fashioned is the staple and trendy cocktail lately, much like vodka was 20 years ago, and can be overpriced simply because of the name. Volstead’s old fashioned mixes Cabin Still bourbon and a smoked demerara (more fancy sugar from South America) syrup for $9. Find this place in Uptown close to the Lyndale and Lake Street intersection, but don’t look for their sign, look for a grey door, a red light, and no sign.

Norseman Distillery

If you find yourself close to the University of Minnesota campus, and are okay with bearded bartenders, stop by Norseman Distillery. At $9, their Luxe cocktail is a tart play on a whiskey sour with Norseman’s own whiskey, lemon juice, and plantain amarro (amarro is an Italian bitter liqueur).

Nightingale

A full cocktail list for $8.50 is a rare occurrence in the restaurant world. Nightingale’s Sazerac with 100 proof Old Overholt rye, makes the novice smile with the balance of a proper cocktail at a great price. For someone who doesn’t want to be too adventurous, the Manhattan cocktail here is made with Maker’s Mark, which is a rarity at this price point.
Joy Summers

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