Aug 12, 2022 - Food and Drink

The Twin Cities' hottest club is the speakeasy

Illustration of a martini-glass-shaped keyhole
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The "secret" speakeasy is growing in popularity again in the Twin Cities as people search for a unique way to enjoy a drink.

The big picture:  Speakeasies, which are "underground" venues inspired by illegal bars during the Prohibition era, traditionally serve craft cocktails and small plates at a higher price point, and are "hidden" inside existing venues.

What's happening: Established Twin Cities restaurants like Billy Sushi are revamping their underground spaces to join the trend and some restaurateurs are now making them a staple of their newest haunts.

  • Twin Cities chef Ann Kim opened bonus bars tucked into both Young Joni in Northeast Minneapolis and her newest restaurant Sooki & Mimi.

What they’re saying: “There's a showmanship to it. The bartender can create something just for you in an intimate setting — you can't do that on a patio," said Andrew Avila, who is opening an unnamed speakeasy in the new Arts + Rec building later this year.

The intrigue: Daniel del Prado opened the HiFi speakeasy in Wayzata this summer and is planning a new project in the building that once housed Marvel Bar, an acclaimed cocktail spot accessible via an unmarked back door.

  • A spokesperson for del Prado declined to provide details on whether his new bar will retain Marvel's sense of mystery.

🔎 Go deeper (into the bar): Need help finding one of these hidden gems? We've got directions:

📞 The Mudd Room (Mendota): Go to the back of Lucky’s 13 Pub and look for a staircase. Find the phone at the top, pick it up, and wait for instructions.

🚨 Volstead's Emporium (Minneapolis): Wander the alley behind Steamship Games in Uptown and look for a steel door with a red light. Reservations suggested.

🐇 The Velveteen (Stillwater): Go down the "rabbit hole" by entering the JX Event Center and following the sound of 1920s music.

👁 Cobble Social House (Minneapolis): Walk through the Monte Carlo parking lot and look for a golden eye painted on a dark wall. Reservations suggested.

🥃 Sockdollanger (Chanhassen): Head into Tequila Butcher and find the phone booth in the hallway to enter this bar featuring over 500 whiskeys.

🎶 HiFi Record Bar (Wayzata): The newest Twin Cities speakeasy in the back of Macanda is a vinyl record paradise with accompanying cocktails. Keep an eye on the calendar for the daily list of DJs.

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