During the Prohibition era, when selling alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States, speakeasies quenched the public’s thirst for a smooth cocktail in dark, smoke-filled basements. Prohibition ended in 1933, but almost a century later, speakeasies — now operating under lower stakes — have been steadily gaining steam in bar scenes across the country. Slink down narrow alleys and slip through unmarked doors to find a not-so-secret world in these nine hidden bars around the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area.Read More
9 Secret Bars For Clandestine Cocktails Around the Twin Cities
Look for the red light in the alley at these speakeasies around Minneapolis and St. Paul
In the back of Chanhassen’s Tequila Butcher in Chanhassen, look for a hallway with an old-fashioned phone booth. Pass through the dark curtains and step back in time to a place where last century’s roaring 20’s are still roaring. Choose from over 500 whiskeys, including rare pours concealed in a “Members Only” wall safe. This is a feathers-and-suspenders kind of place.
The Hardware Store Speakeasy
During Prohibition, the success of speakeasies was due in part to their creative disguises as everyday businesses. The Hardware Store revives that clandestine tradition in Anoka. Come for live jazz, blues, and guitar music and cocktails with modern twists — like the “Mayor Lorraine,” a turquoise elixir of champagne, tequila, and edible glitter.
Sooki & Mimi
Slip into the alleyway off of 31st street and look for the red light above the door — from there, descend in the ‘70s rec room-inspired speakeasy at Sooki & Mimi. The atmosphere here is more mid-century than Prohibition-era. Enjoy the vinyls playing on loop with a crisp martini or Old Fashioned in hand.
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Tread down the alley and keep an eye out for the red light above a door. Not only does Volstead’s pour some excellent drinks, but it has an extensive food menu — details aren’t publicly available online, but expect burgers, rich desserts, and classic cocktails like gimlets. Come for live jazz music on the weekend, or ragtime happy hour tunes off the old-fashioned grand piano.
Prohibition Bar isn’t exactly hidden, but considering it’s tucked away on the 27th floor of the Foshay Tower, it has some of the hush-hush feel of a classic speakeasy. Try a vintage cocktail like the “Jackie Diamond,” made with Keeper’s Heart Irish-American whiskey, cherry bark bitters, and orange peel, and poured into a smoked gclass. The bar — the entire Foshay Tower, actually — drips with the ornamental charm of the 1920s and 30s.
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Billy Sushi ビリー寿司
Billy After Dark is the clandestine complement to chef Billy Tserentbat’s swanky North Loop sushi restaurant, Billy Sushi. Wander down the alley to the right of the building, and find the back door market with a neon sign. B.A.D. is both sleek and cavernous, the ceiling flecked with L.E.D. stars. Gaze on the collection of fine Japanese whiskies encased in an elegant, back-lit wall display. Billy After Dark has been quite popular since its opening, so it’s best to make a reservation in advance.
Cobble Social House
Look for the mysterious golden eye painted on the dark brick building next to Monte Carlo’s parking lot. This swanky little bar serves gorgeous drinks and snacks for those clever enough to get in and snag a seat. Signature cocktails run at $15 — try a savory Morricone martini, made with mozzarella and MSG-washed vodka, smoked olives, and olive brine.
This hidden bar behind Young Joni is just as popular as the award-winning restaurant it’s attached to. Sneak down the alley and look for the red neon light, which indicates if the bar is open. A limited number of patrons are allowed at a time inside, but the wait is worth it — this intimate room, cloaked in dark florals and velvet, feels like your chic grandma’s basement setup. (That is, if your grandma had a 70s-era reel-to-reel playing in the background.)
The Velveteen Speakeasy
Descend a tight staircase in a nondescript building in Stillwater, and you’ll enter a dusky room filled with stylish seating and romantic corners. Sneak onto the secret garden patio and enjoy a Prohibition-era classic cocktail, like a Pisco sour topped with ethereal egg whites.