The North Loop is the epicenter of all things cool in Minneapolis right now. There are river views, walking to all of downtown, and an impossibly high concentration of hip restaurants and bars. What it doesn’t always have is a neighborhoody vibe. I’m guessing there isn’t a Welcome Wagon or a pan of bars awaiting new arrivals as they move into the converted warehouse space condos throughout the area.
The addition of the new Red Cow adds a welcome new casual hang to the zip code: It’s not too fancy, but far from a dive. Just as in the other two locations in Edina and St. Paul, the burgers are abundant, fries are crispy, craft brews perfectly chilled, and wine pours spot-on. What continues to improve with each new location is the cocktail game. Red Cow North Loop has hired Ian Lowther to create drinks that are beyond the typical lineup. These aren’t timid sippers. Some will challenge the palate while others ease past the lips with unexpected layers of sweet balanced by bitter.
Granddad’s Sour is the best way to kick off an evening. Old Granddad bourbon is shaken vigorously with marmalade, a splash of citrus juice, and an egg white. It’s an amped-up whiskey sour that is blessedly easy on the sugar—the element that has been the tragic downfall of so many so-called craft cocktails. Using a little cut out, bitters are spritzed over the creamy froth in the shape of the Red Cow’s head. It’s a balanced and beautiful welcome to the neighborhood.