First Look: Bradstreet Crafthouse

Before there was Marvel Bar, Parlour, or Eat Street Social, there was Bradstreet Crafthouse. In 2009, the opening of the original Bradstreet Crafthouse in the former Graves 601 Hotel marked a paradigm shift in Twin Cities diners’ appreciation for—and expectations of—the contents of their highballs. By the time they closed their doors last summer (the Graves 601 having been sold to Loews), they had arguably helped spawn today’s booming craft cocktail scene.

This past weekend, the relocated Bradstreet Neighborhood Crafthouse reopened in the former home of Rye Deli (and Auriga before that), having shaken off much of the stodginess of its former incarnation, though they kept many of the signature design elements—the intricately carved wooden panels and light fixtures and the heavy stone tabletops. The bar is more accessible and spacious now, so mixology enthusiasts can get a front-row seat to the main attraction, and the rest of the space is divided into separate rooms, each with a distinct vibe of its own.

The cocktail menu is as ambitious as it ever was, and executed in a more timely fashion. I was happy to see my favorite Bradstreet cocktail still on the menu (the minty, mellow Whiskey Smash), and my companions loved the fresh brightness of the Juliet and Romeo, a summery concoction made with local Prairie Organic gin.

There’s a greater emphasis on food at Bradstreet 2.0, with options ranging from shareable small plates and appetizers (the sesame chicken meatballs and lobster mac n’ cheese are both quite good, and the shishito peppers make for a salty, snacky treat without packing too much heat) to burgers, salads, and eastern-influenced entrees like matcha-tea gnocchi and seared yellowtail on soba noodles.

The place was hopping on the first Tuesday they were open, which may bode well for their odds of making a notoriously tricky location work. At least in the short term, reservations may be a good idea, as Minneapolitans come out to pay their respects to the grandparent of the craft cocktail scene, and linger, finding it hipper than they remembered.

whiskey smash, photo by mo perry