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Friday, December 2, 2011

Best New Bars of 2011

Best New Bars of 2011

Marvel Bar

The issue of Minnesota Monthly on newsstands now celebrates the best new restaurants of the year—but what about all the new bars? It was a significant year for new and improved drinking in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here’s my top three:

1. Marvel Bar (Beneath The Bachelor Farmer)
Culinary cocktails have been one of the most amusing and enjoyable trends of the last few years, and bartender Pip Hansen’s showcase Marvel Bar (impossible to find, and beneath the impossible to get into The Bachelor Farmer) takes the amusement and enjoyment up a notch. Try the Borealis, a variation on a sweet martini, made with rhubarb bitters and luster dust, or the variation on a Tom Collins brightened with pickle brine. Marvel Bar, 50 2nd Ave. N., Mpls., 612-206-3929

2. Amsterdam Bar and Hall
Belgian ales have long had pockets of cult enthusiasm throughout the Twin Cities (the Bryant Lake Bowl, for instance, springs to mind). But a bar with a whole Low Country focus is entirely new. Fries with garlic mayo and a tangy Rodenbach in a footed goblet? Now that’s a Dutch treat. Amsterdam Bar and Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul, 651-222-3990

3. Zen Box Izakaya
Izakayas are Japanese bar food specialists, and this new one on Washington, near the Guthrie, is better truly Japanese drinking than we’ve ever had in Minnesota before. Asahi draft on tap, Hitachino white ale on tap—those are rare beers. Add the area’s best shochu and sake list, and a truly craveable version of Japanese fried chicken (the chicken Kara-Age), and Minnesota has something brand new: Tokyo-class Japanese drinking. Zen Box Izakaya, 602 Washington Ave S., Mpls., 612-332-3936

Tell me what you think. And tell the truth: Was it a crime to leave off Meritage’s revamped oyster bar?

Posted on Friday, December 2, 2011 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Dec 2, 2011 06:57 pm
 Posted by  JasonRoss

Criminal! Gotta get the new oyster bar in there. How great for downtown St Paul to have 2 hot night spots at Meritage and Amsterdam. I guess they're gonna have to quit rolling up the sidewalks.

Dec 5, 2011 09:16 am
 Posted by  Fresh Tart

Oh that oyster bar! There is love there. Love.

Dec 6, 2011 04:06 pm
 Posted by  Dara

Yeah, they was robbed... my logic was that it wasn't technically a new bar, and I didn't want the list to grow to 5. That said, if you disagreed with my, I might disagree with you..

And seriously! You can do some seriously good drinking in downtown St. Paul all of a sudden: Imagine, you start at Barrio with a margarita, hop next to Amsterdam, then to Meritage - around the world, all in St. Paul.

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TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Home Cook Stephanie Meyer, Chef Jason Ross, Savvy Mom Kristin Boldon, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

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