The most classic cocktail bar in the neighborhood, Shadowland's basic black interior keeps things simple, while the cocktail list covers huge swaths with its variety. Vegetables come into play in both the Pickletini and the Jalapeño Margarita, there’s a Fruit Loop rim on the Toucan Sam, hot drinks abound (try the Campfire Cocoa), and there’s a whole section of sparkling cocktails. A little something for everybody makes this a valuable neighborhood bar.
Frances Farmer at Shadowland ($10)
Ma’ono Fried Chicken and Whisky
In transitioning from fancy-food Spring Hill to casual fried chicken joint, Ma’ono found a way to draw attention to the excellent collection of whiskies it had amassed, and the bar program rolled over easily to the new concept. Well-known bartender-around-town MiNan Ahn developed the menu, and embraces the wise words of Ma’ono’s website: “Fried chicken is pretty good. But it’s a helluva lot better with whisky.”
A Midwest themed restaurant owning a vaguely tiki-themed dive bar might seem odd, but with the closure of Shipwreck Tavern, the folks at Heartland knew better than to kill off the fish under the floor and let the pirate-ship-shaped room go waste. They’ve embraced the theme by serving classic tiki drinks along side Minnesota classics like the Hot Dish and a Juicy Lucy.
Pirate Booty Juice at The Benbow Room ($8)
Feedback is so comfortable that it’s come to operate as a sort of living room for bar and restaurant industry folks, offering couches along with tables and bar seating, and pinball for when you feel like standing. The décor is black and metal, dark in color, but only in the happiest of ways: red highlights and shelves of home-made concoctions keep it bright.
Entering West 5 is a little like walking into a pinball game. It’s dark, long, and narrow, and at the end is a giant lit-up crown. Sure enough, the myriad of drink options will make you want to bounce back and forth between the many types of cocktails: the menu includes classics, martinis, giant rum drinks, thirst quenchers, warmers, and dessert drinks. The crowd here is similarly varied, with kids climbing on tables, regulars glued to the same stool since the place opened, and a boisterous post-work crowd at the bar.