Over the course of the past few years, our local bar scene has been on a serious upswing. New restaurants are incorporating trendy cocktail bars into their floor plans; taprooms come standard with any upstart craft brewery; and just on the horizon, we'll have a wave of craft cocktail rooms as part of the local distillery boom.
Still, here in the Twin Cities, we never forget our roots. Which is why we were so pleased to see that in the newest issue of Esquire, cocktail historian David Wondrich has gone and named south Minneapolis institution Palmer's Bar to his 2014 list of Best Bars in America.
This isn't the first time that Esquire magazine has singled out a Twin Cities bar as being one of the best in the nation. In 2006, the magazine named Nye's Polonaise Room the best bar in America. Other bars that have received national recognition include both Marvel Bar and Parlour.
Palmer's is probably best known as the premier dive bar of the Seven Corners area of Minneapolis, offering heavy-handed pours, a dark atmosphere, and an outdoor patio where on a good night, you can gather round the fire to swap stories with a rag-tag group of diehard regulars. It's exactly the kind of bar we grew up with and still love.
Palmer's was originally founded in 1906 and has been a Twin Cities West Bank institution ever since. Owners have come and gone, but the bar's colorful presence has held strong, surviving Prohibition and later transforming into a hippie stronghold in the 1960s.
According to Wondrich's article, "There are dives and dives in this world. There's the type Guy Fieri calls out, old joints that might not feel like they need to get their hair done before seeing company but are nonetheless fundamentally clean and comfortable and unchallenging. Then there's Palmer's."
Wondrich sings the praises of Palmer's cheap price tags on bottom-shelf shots of whiskey and notes, "make sure to get a beer back with your shots, which are poured double."
"Esquire magazine called last night. In their June issue, Palmer's is named #1 bar in Minnesota and one of the best bars in the nation," reads a statement on the bar's Facebook page. "Take that you craft cocktailors and douche bag top 40 clubs!!!!!!"
While we do love innovative craft cocktails, our love for local dive bars will never wane. Whether we want to party with friends or drown our sorrows in a pint of beer, we know exactly where we want to go, and Palmer's certainly fits the bill.