Looking for a review of new Whisky Park? Let’s do this!
The slogan of downtown Minneapolis’ newest mega-gigantic downtown bar is: “Let’s Make Some Bad Decisions.” While that phrase is a nicely set-up tee ball for a critic, I can actually report that you could make worse decisions than to stop in for a 2-for-1 whisky some night after work—especially if you commute by light rail, as the bar is within sight of the Nicollet Ave. light rail stop.
Okay, admittedly, the identity of this new, gargantuan party-bar is confused. It bills itself as a country-western spot (and sometimes has a mechanical bull on the dance floor to complement the mural-sized portraits of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Dolly Parton), but when I visited, the music was resolutely throwback hip-hop pop: Salt ‘N Pepa, Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and Janet Jackson. Well, whatever, I like drinking good hooch while listening to Eminem as much as any Piper Jaffray analyst (who can be found around the corner, in their headquarters) and Whisky Park does have some notably good hooch: Silky-smooth Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, aged in port casks, is a wonderfully warming treat—and at $10 for two pours (during happy hour), Whisky Park can program whatever music they want. That stuff goes down smooth.
The food at this sister restaurant to Lyn Lake’s The Lyndale Tap is less smooth, though there are some nice options: Whisky Park’s barbecued beef brisket sandwich is a welcome addition to downtown. It is smoked at the Lyndale Tap, and the soft, smoky, nicely done beef is presented winningly on soft white toast with lots of cole slaw. Now, the low-lights: The ghost-pepper XXX hot sauce for the chicken wings was firey and delicious, but the battered, fried wings themselves tasted utterly generic, like they came from the central commissary that fills the Hungry-Man TV dinner tray. Nachos were a pale version—a big pile of dry chips with gooey orange cheese sauce. Pizza was better than frozen, worse than most pizza place’s pizza. Still, a good happy hour on the light rail isn’t to be pooh-poohed, and I’m glad for any downtown venue offering good scotch at happy hour prices.
15 South 5th St., Mpls.