clock menu more-arrow no yes
A light green colored drink in a tall glass filled with ice set at the end of the bar.
A cocktail from Petite León.
Lucy Hawthorne

Where to Drink in the Twin Cities Right Now

A subterranean speakeasy, cozy greenhouses at a woman-owned distillery, and more top drinking spots

View as Map
A cocktail from Petite León.
| Lucy Hawthorne

False spring is in full force — and what better way to wade through the March slush than with a strong drink in hand. From subterranean bars and breweries to hip cocktail spots that celebrate non-alcoholic beverages, there’s no shortage of imaginative cocktail bars to explore in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here are a few places to try this season, including Minnesota’s first one-woman-owned distillery, a speakeasy with a distinct ‘70s vibe, and a St. Paul bar with cold-peated black spruce whiskey.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Sooki & Mimi

Copy Link
1432 W 31st St
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 540-2554
Visit Website

Semi-secret tip: while the dining room at Ann Kim’s newest restaurant in Uptown is a highly sought-after reservation, Sooki and Mimi’s basement bar is one of Minneapolis’s classiest speakeasies. Look for a light in the alley off 31st Street, step through the door, and descend into the ‘70s-style rec room-meets-cocktail lounge, complete with vinyl tunes and vintage wooden furniture. The basement bar is first-come, first-served. Upstairs at the walk-up bar, you’ll find cilantro sours and the pineapple-based drink tepache — which the team ferments on-site — served on tap with mezcal, tequila, or vodka.

2. Meteor

Copy Link
2027 N 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55411
(612) 886-2483
Visit Website

Meteor made for an inspiring story during the pandemic. A long-time dream by expert barmen and co-owners Robb Jones and Elliot Manthey, the bar almost didn’t come into fruition due to COVID-19 — but a year and a half later, Meteor is one of Near North’s best cocktail bars. The interior is all walnut and brick and black leather stools — nothing that’s trying too hard. But the drinks are imaginative and complex, changing week to week with the bartenders’ latest obsessions. Recent inventions include a hot cider laced with gin, Cocchi Americano, and saffron liqueur, and a Tom Collins-style “bow chicka cacao” cocktail made with Cynar, lemon, and cherry-cacao syrup.

3. Petite León

Copy Link
3800 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55409
(612) 208-1247
Visit Website

This reborn neighborhood bistro has a cozy bar, where co-owner Travis Serbus’ citrus-forward drinks help patrons survive a long, hard winter. As of late, cocktails feature notes of avocado, dragonfruit, grapefruit, and lemon — the Moon Dog, made with mezcal, green chartreuse, and tamarind is a highlight. For more classic takes, try a non-alcoholic Negroni with grape, juniper, and bitter orange, or a strawberry caipirinha. Food from former Surly Beer Hall head chef Jorge Guzmán makes for excellent pairings.

In a coup glass a bright, deep pink cocktail with a white frothy head sits on a black table with a black background. It seems as though there is a spotlight on the drink
A frothy, bright sipper at Petite León.
Lucy Hawthorne

4. Sanjusan

Copy Link
33 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 354-7763
Visit Website

Sanjusan doesn’t take itself too seriously, which can feel like a rarity in today’s bar scene. Cocktails come with a welcome dose of whimsy, like a cotton candy cloud garnish. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means the drinks here are sickly sweet — rather, they show the team’s prowess and restraint. Sanjusan is a mix of Italian and Japanese cuisines: a balance of bitter and crisp flavors appear in many of the drinks. Try the Ikkyu highballs with shish bitters, or the Mican cocktail with blood orange and dry curaçao.

A martini glass is filled with orange liquid on a blonde wood table. It appears that there is a floating cloud above the glass, because a cotton candy puff is placed on it.
This cocktail comes with a cloud of cotton candy.
Joy Summers

5. Brother Justus Whiskey Company

Copy Link
3300 5th St NE Suite B
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 886-1658
Visit Website

Brother Justus — named for a 1920s Benedictine monk who flouted Prohibition and bootlegged moonshine in central Minnesota — is a true innovator in the Cities’ whiskey scene. Founder Phil Steger made Minnesota’s first single malt whiskey a few years back and has since expanded the company’s offerings to a barley-based single whiskey, an American with notes of butterscotch, and a cold-peated whiskey, made with peat from the black spruce bogs of Aitkin county. Brother Justus’s whiskey room offers classic and original cocktails like harvest pear (poached pear puree and guajillo syrup) and the Mama Vang (silver whiskey and rice water).

6. Twin Spirits Distillery & M Coffee Shop

Copy Link
2931 NE Central Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55418
(612) 353-5274
Visit Website

Twin Spirits is the Twin Cities’ first one-woman-owned distillery — a rarity in a very dude-dominated field, and Twin Spirits holds its own. Top-tier rum, whiskey, vodka, and gin focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing. The cocktails are delicately herbaceous — look for notes of rosemary and mint complementing fruity bases and house-made syrups. Outside, the bar has set up cozy greenhouses for the winter months — make a reservation ahead for these. (Walk-ins can enjoy the communal bonfire space, but bundle up.)

7. Estelle

Copy Link
1806 St Clair Ave
St Paul, MN 55105
(651) 330-9648
Visit Website

Estelle is an excellent date spot in St. Paul’s Mac-Groveland neighborhood — its Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish-influenced menu features elegant and hearty dishes to warm diners in the cold weather. But aside from meals, the bar here is strong enough to stand on its own. Flip through the menu’s generous selection of red, whites, and sparking — by the bottle or glass — as well as their sherries and vermouths. Stellar cocktails include the “Anxious Possum,” with citrus-laced gin, blueberry, rose, and lemon, and the sangria, made with allspice dram and Trinidad bitters.

8. W. A. Frost and Company

Copy Link
374 Selby Ave #1825
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-5715
Visit Website

For whatever reason you’re looking to change your drinking habits, the low-proof and zero-proof cocktails at W. A. Frost and Company won’t have you missing liquor. The mature, complex flavors of drinks like the rosemary aperitif or their take on a Negroni don’t need to hide behind by booze to be knockout cocktails. If you’re in search of something stronger, try the Jungle Bird, made with pineapple rum, sugarcane, and bordiga aperitivo.

A highball glass is filled with a clear liquid, garnished with a cucumber ribbon, lemon zest and a few juniper berries. The glass sits on a marble topped table. The historic wood filled interior of Frost’s bar is barely visible in the background.
This classic bar has a fantastic new low and zero-proof cocktail menu.
Joy Summers

9. Emerald Lounge

Copy Link
455 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102
(651) 410-1650
Visit Website

St. Paul’s chic Emerald Lounge follows up on the promise of its name with green details throughout the cozy living room-esque space. Here, cocktails include a version with three rums, lime, and honey-passionfruit syrup, its take on an Old Fashioned, and a drink, fittingly, with green chartreuse. Oh, and the bar claims to make the coldest martini in town. Emerald Lounge also offers food and desserts — curl up in one of the booths with a coffee liquor pudding.

1. Sooki & Mimi

1432 W 31st St, Minneapolis, MN 55408

Semi-secret tip: while the dining room at Ann Kim’s newest restaurant in Uptown is a highly sought-after reservation, Sooki and Mimi’s basement bar is one of Minneapolis’s classiest speakeasies. Look for a light in the alley off 31st Street, step through the door, and descend into the ‘70s-style rec room-meets-cocktail lounge, complete with vinyl tunes and vintage wooden furniture. The basement bar is first-come, first-served. Upstairs at the walk-up bar, you’ll find cilantro sours and the pineapple-based drink tepache — which the team ferments on-site — served on tap with mezcal, tequila, or vodka.

1432 W 31st St
Minneapolis, MN 55408

2. Meteor

2027 N 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55411

Meteor made for an inspiring story during the pandemic. A long-time dream by expert barmen and co-owners Robb Jones and Elliot Manthey, the bar almost didn’t come into fruition due to COVID-19 — but a year and a half later, Meteor is one of Near North’s best cocktail bars. The interior is all walnut and brick and black leather stools — nothing that’s trying too hard. But the drinks are imaginative and complex, changing week to week with the bartenders’ latest obsessions. Recent inventions include a hot cider laced with gin, Cocchi Americano, and saffron liqueur, and a Tom Collins-style “bow chicka cacao” cocktail made with Cynar, lemon, and cherry-cacao syrup.

2027 N 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55411

3. Petite León

3800 Nicollet Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55409
In a coup glass a bright, deep pink cocktail with a white frothy head sits on a black table with a black background. It seems as though there is a spotlight on the drink
A frothy, bright sipper at Petite León.
Lucy Hawthorne

This reborn neighborhood bistro has a cozy bar, where co-owner Travis Serbus’ citrus-forward drinks help patrons survive a long, hard winter. As of late, cocktails feature notes of avocado, dragonfruit, grapefruit, and lemon — the Moon Dog, made with mezcal, green chartreuse, and tamarind is a highlight. For more classic takes, try a non-alcoholic Negroni with grape, juniper, and bitter orange, or a strawberry caipirinha. Food from former Surly Beer Hall head chef Jorge Guzmán makes for excellent pairings.

3800 Nicollet Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55409

4. Sanjusan

33 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
A martini glass is filled with orange liquid on a blonde wood table. It appears that there is a floating cloud above the glass, because a cotton candy puff is placed on it.
This cocktail comes with a cloud of cotton candy.
Joy Summers

Sanjusan doesn’t take itself too seriously, which can feel like a rarity in today’s bar scene. Cocktails come with a welcome dose of whimsy, like a cotton candy cloud garnish. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this means the drinks here are sickly sweet — rather, they show the team’s prowess and restraint. Sanjusan is a mix of Italian and Japanese cuisines: a balance of bitter and crisp flavors appear in many of the drinks. Try the Ikkyu highballs with shish bitters, or the Mican cocktail with blood orange and dry curaçao.

33 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401

5. Brother Justus Whiskey Company

3300 5th St NE Suite B, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Brother Justus — named for a 1920s Benedictine monk who flouted Prohibition and bootlegged moonshine in central Minnesota — is a true innovator in the Cities’ whiskey scene. Founder Phil Steger made Minnesota’s first single malt whiskey a few years back and has since expanded the company’s offerings to a barley-based single whiskey, an American with notes of butterscotch, and a cold-peated whiskey, made with peat from the black spruce bogs of Aitkin county. Brother Justus’s whiskey room offers classic and original cocktails like harvest pear (poached pear puree and guajillo syrup) and the Mama Vang (silver whiskey and rice water).

3300 5th St NE Suite B
Minneapolis, MN 55418

6. Twin Spirits Distillery & M Coffee Shop

2931 NE Central Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Twin Spirits is the Twin Cities’ first one-woman-owned distillery — a rarity in a very dude-dominated field, and Twin Spirits holds its own. Top-tier rum, whiskey, vodka, and gin focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing. The cocktails are delicately herbaceous — look for notes of rosemary and mint complementing fruity bases and house-made syrups. Outside, the bar has set up cozy greenhouses for the winter months — make a reservation ahead for these. (Walk-ins can enjoy the communal bonfire space, but bundle up.)

2931 NE Central Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55418

7. Estelle

1806 St Clair Ave, St Paul, MN 55105

Estelle is an excellent date spot in St. Paul’s Mac-Groveland neighborhood — its Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish-influenced menu features elegant and hearty dishes to warm diners in the cold weather. But aside from meals, the bar here is strong enough to stand on its own. Flip through the menu’s generous selection of red, whites, and sparking — by the bottle or glass — as well as their sherries and vermouths. Stellar cocktails include the “Anxious Possum,” with citrus-laced gin, blueberry, rose, and lemon, and the sangria, made with allspice dram and Trinidad bitters.

1806 St Clair Ave
St Paul, MN 55105

8. W. A. Frost and Company

374 Selby Ave #1825, St Paul, MN 55102
A highball glass is filled with a clear liquid, garnished with a cucumber ribbon, lemon zest and a few juniper berries. The glass sits on a marble topped table. The historic wood filled interior of Frost’s bar is barely visible in the background.
This classic bar has a fantastic new low and zero-proof cocktail menu.
Joy Summers

For whatever reason you’re looking to change your drinking habits, the low-proof and zero-proof cocktails at W. A. Frost and Company won’t have you missing liquor. The mature, complex flavors of drinks like the rosemary aperitif or their take on a Negroni don’t need to hide behind by booze to be knockout cocktails. If you’re in search of something stronger, try the Jungle Bird, made with pineapple rum, sugarcane, and bordiga aperitivo.

374 Selby Ave #1825
St Paul, MN 55102

9. Emerald Lounge

455 7th St W, St Paul, MN 55102

St. Paul’s chic Emerald Lounge follows up on the promise of its name with green details throughout the cozy living room-esque space. Here, cocktails include a version with three rums, lime, and honey-passionfruit syrup, its take on an Old Fashioned, and a drink, fittingly, with green chartreuse. Oh, and the bar claims to make the coldest martini in town. Emerald Lounge also offers food and desserts — curl up in one of the booths with a coffee liquor pudding.

455 7th St W
St Paul, MN 55102

Related Maps