Step inside here for vodka and vareniki
The sleek space has no sign, but the red door with the hammer and sickle handle makes it easy to spot this new Russian-influenced hot spot sandwiched between Bar Abilene
and the Lagoon Cinema
in Uptown. Dim lights flicker as shots are tipped back, plates of food float past, and music pumps overhead. This is the new Hammer & Sickle.
A glimpse of the red-toned glitz
The cocktail list is filled with cleverly named mixed drinks like the Siberian Sunrise and Vladimir's Magic Hangover Cure. The prices aren't marked, but stay in the $10 range.
We sampled the Miracle on Ice, a mix of Bulleit Rye, simple syrup, and cherry bitters, topped with a bit of orange peel and a Maraschino cherry, like an Old Fashioned. The taste, however, was all sweet and no meat -- the rye was lost to the crunchy sugar crystals at the bottom of the glass.
A Miracle and a Mule
A Moscow Mule was similarly sweet with a kick of bitter ginger beer. It was served in the proper traditional cup, but we'd hoped for a more conventional cocktail taste.
We probably ought to have ordered one of the vodka flights for $20 or the Hammer & Sickle Flight for $25 that boasts Hammer & Sickle vodka, Ketel One, Referent, and Tito's. Several shots of booze are available in three different tiers from $6 to $8. (For $8 you can get a shot of Chambord.)
If you eschew the hard stuff, Hammer & Sickle offers wines and beers ranging from a $5 Miller Lite to $250 Dom Perignon.
The menu includes small plates, caviar flights, meat and veggie skewers, and entrees that vary daily. There are also the typical Russian foods you might expect, such as borscht and pickled fish, as well as traditional pierogi.
They also have more creative flavors, with some not-so-politically-correct names, like the Cholo with chorizo sausage, and the Chernobyl with "potato, ground beef, 3-chile relish, sour cream, and tears..."
Hammer & Sickle makes it easy for diners to graze through the menu and fill their bellies with vodka flights and substantial dishes, but if you'd rather a light bite, the shashlik are simple skewers of meat and vegetables that won't cause you to bust a seam.
They're currently serving happy hour every day from 4 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 p.m. to midnight. Soon they'll open even earlier for weekend brunch.
Hammer & Sickle
1300 Lagoon Ave., Minneapolis
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