Bradstreet Crafthouse (Minneapolis, MN)
We have four requirements for a perfect evening out with friends: interesting cocktails, good food made for sharing, comfortable furniture, and an ambience quiet enough for conversation. It's easy to find places with some of these -- La Belle Vie, the Independent, Psycho Suzi's, the Red White and F'ing Blue Bar, the Angry Gnome, Prohibition -- but only Bradstreet Crafthouse excels in all four.
You want interesting cocktails? Bradstreet is a serious cocktail bar, with premium alcohols and housemade mixers. These people even have four different kinds of ice. The Juliet & Romeo is made with Plymouth gin, lime, mint, cucumber, and rose water added with an eye dropper. The Bradstreet Cocktail is Jim Beam rye, lemon, jasmine syrup, an egg white, and special bitters. Cooper's Union is Prairie vodka, lemon, St. Germaine -- that's an elderflower liqueur -- grapefruit, orange flower water, and sparkling wine. We could go on and on.
So take your time with the drink menu. If there's an ingredient you don't know, ask and you'll be brought a taste. And be adventurous. If you never liked tequila, or don't like whiskey drinks, order one here. Really.
You want good food? Chef Jesse Spitzack has you covered. We like the jerk duck wings, the crab cakes, the chicken satay, the lamb sliders, and the duck and apple kimchi quesadillas. All are great for sharing; ask them to cut the sliders in half for more servings.
There are some great dishes that don't work well for groups. The Bradstreet BLT is their delicious take on a classic, but it's really only suitable for sharing with someone you're already intimate with. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Reserve a table for your group in the back room. There you'll find comfortable couches around low tables, and good music you don't have to shout over.
But -- and here's an important tip -- if you are with just one other person and want an especially enjoyable time, sit at the bar and talk to the bartenders. You'll learn a lot about mixology and, if you're lucky, get to taste some of the off-menu drinks they're working on.
Sadly, that perfect evening out doesn't come cheap. Bradstreet's cocktails are $10 each and the food -- figure 2-3 plates per person if you want to make a meal of it -- runs $8 to $10 a plate. Go there to celebrate something, either with someone special or with a dozen friends. We've already bought one of you a drink to get the party started. It's on the board with the rest of them; you'll see when you get there.
601 First Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Cuisine Type: Eclectic
Reservations: Not required
Diet Choices: Limited vegetarian options