My wife and I went looking for Marvel Bar last Friday. It shouldn’t have been hard, because as we walked up, bartender Jesse Held poked his head out of the door of The Bachelor Farmer and said hi to us. “You guys going downstairs,” he asked. “Yep, we’ll be back for dinner,” we answered.
So we walked down the sidewalk, into what looked like a little outdoor patio (no chairs) and into an unmarked, generic, service door. I opened it, saw what looked like the back-end of a restaurant, and assumed I was in the wrong place. We looked around some more, until a kind soul parking her car said, “Yep, that’s the door.”
We walked in the door, past some service rooms, an elevator, and into an unmarked purple door: that took us into Marvel Bar.
After we shared our getting lost experience, cocktail genius-in-charge Pip Hanson told us, “That wasn’t unintentional.”
Half of you probably already hate Marvel Bar (“No sign on the door? Confusing on purpose? Too preciously trendy for me!”). The other half will love it. The cocktails are creative, different, delicious, theatrical, lively, exciting… did I mention delicious? The vibe is very speakeasy. On the menu, in small type, it instructed me that cell phone use and flash photography was against the rules. (This thrilled my wife, incidentally.)
In fact, when I called owner Eric Dayton about dropping in with a WCCO-TV camera for my DeRushaEats segment on our new Saturday morning newscast (watch at 8 a.m.!), he said I couldn’t bring the camera. He turned down publicity! He said he wanted to be consistent with the no photography bit.
So, what should you drink?
Don’t miss the Oliveto. I’ve had a lot of cocktails, but never one that uses olive oil. The texture and the tang of the olive oil in this gin sour was lightened with the frothy egg white. It’s creamy, it’s fresh, it’s delicious.
And the Angophile tasted like a very bitter milkshake. An ounce of bitters, a whole egg, and bourbon—just a fabulous cocktail.
I was worried it would be too crowded, because this place has gotten a lot of buzz, but it wasn’t crowded at all at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. It gets crowded late, but early, it’s a really comfortable vibe.
As for The Bachelor Farmer, I expect a full Dara review in the magazine soon enough. But from my perspective, there’s a lot going right here. We loved the rabbit liver pâté toasts, a creamy, delicious spread.
And I absolutely LOVED the lefse with pickled beets; the grilled sausage is fantastic.
Our server was absolutely charming, and they’re still working on kinks in the kitchen—it took 35-40 minutes or so for our two orders of toasts to come out. But I love that they offer any bottle of wine as a half-bottle (at the half-price) and then write that bottle on a chalkboard offering it by the glass. It’s brilliant!
We can’t wait to go back.
Marvel Bar and The Bachelor Farmer
50 North 2nd Avenue, Mpls.