If it's a speakeasy you're after, read on.
Head to Seward and look for the patio furniture that's been fashioned out of cinderblock and other scrap. Find the discreet stamped signage on the dark wooden fence. You're here.
This is a bar where you wouldn't expect to find one, in an old industrial area tucked into a residential neighborhood behind reliable dives the Hexagon and Memory Lanes. (The three could make for a boozy bar crawl, just make sure you're on foot as operating a motor vehicle will be way out of the question.)
Word has it that this stretch of real estate had been historically dubbed "The Hub of Hell," a destination for the pursuit of drinking and fighting. It was the home of saloons, nightclubs, and strip joints where corrupt cops could strike unsavory bargains with the city’s "underworld."
Indoors, your eyes will have a difficult time adjusting to the windowless atmosphere, but the clank of ice on glass will tip you off that you've come to the right place. The right place if you're looking for distilled-on-site spirits made into the finest cocktails by Bittercube, the guys who brought you the cocktail programs at some of the best establishments locally and around the country. (Want to make over your bar? Contact Bittercube. They consult and they travel).
The Lawless Distilling Company products include "Tippling House" Vodka distilled from 100 percent Minnesota wheat and "Greenway Gin", a dry gin also distilled from 100 percent Minnesota wheat. With these limited offerings, Bittercube has managed a surprisingly comprehensive list of over twenty drinks, right down to a mimosa, wherein they substitute a house made champagne syrup and seltzer for champagne, and bump the booze up a bit by plying the classic sipper with vodka.
Or check out the "Hecho en Mexico" a quartet of innocent-in-appearance concoctions arriving in Mexican soda bottles. They're delicious as liquid candy, but pack an adult-drink wallop. Each one has vodka at its base, with things added from there, such as curaçao and Blackstrap Bitters or ginger liquor, lemon, lime and Jamaican Bitters. It gives them the deceptive sweet pop of soda.
Stopping here during a Greenway ride is a new way to make life better and more refreshing. Did we mention there's vodka soda and gin and tonic on tap? Who needs water or Gatorade?
If you're looking for eats, too bad. They serve only Dot's Pretzels from Velva, North Dakota, and Lawless Grass Fed Beef Jerky, teriyaki flavor. Both go great with a chive, cilantro and fennel Bloody Mary, and besides, pushing other appetites aside is a worthwhile endeavor in exchange for checking out the new, mysterious face of Minneapolis cocktail culture.
Lawless Distilling Cocktail Room
2619 28th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Wednesday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 4 p.m. to midnight
Saturday: 4 p.m. to midnight