BEST COCKTAILS - 2000
The St. Paul Grill - CLOSED
Unless you're some sort of preternaturally well-adjusted person, you've probably found yourself at the end of a day when all you'd like is to go someplace where you can forget everything in the company of a good cocktail. The St. Paul Grill Bar is that place. To enter is to be enveloped by the dark wood walls and the warm, low lighting that at once offers comfort and anonymity. And then there is the bar. A beacon through the darkness, its imposing L-shape curls around the back end of the establishment. Green-glass shelves line the mirrored walls all the way up to the ceiling; on them, bottles in all shapes and colors sit in flattering light, beckoning. Cocktails run about $5 here, and it's well worth it. The dexterous bartenders are undaunted by complicated cocktails, mixing a harmonious old-fashioned (the orange and cherry are mulched so gently), a serene Manhattan (special concern over your preference: whiskey or bourbon?), a soothing sidecar (coarse sugar coats the rim of the glass, a classy touch). And if, while letting the liquor slither over the day's dilemmas, you want to people-watch around the brass-topped bar, you'll see all kinds: tech types from Lawson Software discussing their latest programming feats; out-of-town visitors staying upstairs in the Saint Paul Hotel; pre-theater types preparing for a show at the Ordway. Or, you can chat with the bartenders. They're friendly, but pleasantly aloof and not overbearing. They'll recommend drinks, but they'll never presume to tell you what cocktail to order. That, you see, is a very personal choice.