It’s always a nice reality check to see your car parked alongside a Bentley. This particular specimen was a sleek, white beauty with a few tasteful gold flecks. As I turned my keys over to the valet, I cautioned, “Don’t park it too far away.” He smiled. “No, seriously that gas gauge is on the ‘E,’ but it’s likely got another mile and a half before it hits empty.” The smile vanished. As my exceedingly practical, under-fueled car pulled away from the luxurious building, I accepted my lot in life and headed directly to the bar inside the new Eastside.
Lest the name cause any confusion, it’s the east side of downtown Minneapolis where the restaurant is located, not the east side of the Twin Cities. This new eatery is owned by Ryan Burnet, who also has stakes in Bar La Grassa, Burch and Barrio. The interior is filled with a mix of décor that suits both my grocery-loading, mommobile-driving self and whoever is banking enough to cruise in that Bentley. The comfortable bar and exceedingly helpful staff treats every customer with the same ease, care and humor. It was quickly apparent that one didn’t have to live within walking distance to feel like a regular inside these walls. The gorgeous tile floors, open kitchen and giant windows allow a view of everything.
The bar program was created with help from Dan Oskey. Known as one of the best bartenders in the Twin Cities, he now owns and operates Tattersall Distilling. When Oskey suggested that the cocktail list include a selection of sherry cocktails, the owners collectively cocked their heads to the side. A sherry program? Who gets excited about sherry? Well, soon we all might be more schooled in the ways of this fortified wine.
The cocktail list has three $12 sherry cocktails, each tailored to a different flavor spectrum, and all three are lower in alcohol than the average drink, making them perfect for pairing with food. The Solarium is a mix of sherry, gin, Aperol and Carpano Antiqua—it’s light, crisp and ideally suited for the negroni lover. The Palomino & Co. is calling for the Old Fashioned drinkers, dark and husky with a thread of sweetness. The drink I’ll be returning for time and again is the Boreal Courtesy. It takes Tattersall Aquavit, dry sherry, Benedictine and a splash of Angostura, and this creation suits the sophisticated cocktail palate. It’s a smooth, dark beauty with a hit of tartness, an herbaceous backbone with the honey lilt of the Benedictine.
The drinks and décor are just as comfortable and welcoming whether you’re a Bentley steward or a grocery getter pilot.