But a bespoke apron and styled 'stache does not a gifted bartender make, and as the list-generators over at Thrillist noted in their recent roundup of the 21 Best Cocktail Bars in the Country: "Now that great cocktails are everywhere, finding the best of the best is even trickier." So they did some detective drinking to compile Friday's inventory of America's finest, one with "everything from old-school drinkeries shaking up Prohibition-era cocktails to the cutting edge of cocktail science and everything in between."
On the list? None other than Volstead's Emporium, the tucked-away basement joint on West Lake Street in Minneapolis.
"The speakeasy thing's been done over and over," Thrillist's staff notes, "so it takes something truly amazing to make us go looking for some unmarked bar and wait for a table these days, especially when it's cold as balls in the Twin Cities."
They're not wrong—shit, there are so many secret back-alley bars in Minneapolis and St. Paul alone we added a "Best Speakeasy" category to CP's annual Best Of issue this year.
But our pick (Young Joni's back bar) was not theirs: Thrillist gives it up to Volstead's because the place "counters accusations of pretentiousness by making some of the best cocktails in the Midwest." They dig the atmosphere—"low lit, with a vibe somewhere between a '20s speakeasy and the dining car of a particularly boozy Agatha Christie mystery"—as much as they do the drinks, shouting out the Brooklyn specifically.
Another thing they appreciated is something sure to make your thirsty Midwestern heart sing: "Unlike in actual Brooklyn, it's not going to gut your wallet: cocktails here hover around $10."
If you want to check it out yourself, well... finding it is part of the fun. You can track down the address online—or just start slinking through various Lyn-Lake alleys looking for the red light and peep-slotted steel door.