Walking into the Marvel Bar in the North Loop, you’ll swear you’re in one of the trendiest places in the Twin Cities. Not only do you have to know where you’re going (it’s in a basement… without a sign… in the Warehouse District), the unremarkable appearance of the gritty, historic warehouse outside and the plaster-speckled, as-yet unpainted walls in the vestibule before you enter make the bar itself feel like a worthy discovery. And worthy it is. Slightly muted, colorful patterns adorn vast swaths of the walls, the floor, the chairs — each differing in color and texture, yet somehow working harmoniously. Wide, dark leather booths accommodate 4-6 people around round tables with their backs to a clear wall encasing the wine cellar. Bartenders in vests and, on occasion, jaunty fedoras or newsboy caps buzz about, shaking one, if not two, cocktails at any point.
One such cocktail? The Oliveto — a blend of olive oil, egg white, lemon, Licor 43, and gin. Tangy, light, with a smooth roundness from the olive oil, this was a refreshing, creamy drink.
Similarly smooth was the Angophile, the Marvel’s play on a flip. Comprised of a whole egg, Licor 43, angostura bitters, and bourbon, this drink “tasted like Christmas,” with a nice hit of warm seasonal spices. A smoother, thinner consistency and less sweetness on the front end than its cousin eggnog made it impressively drinkable.
Interesting in theory, the Morricone wasn’t a particularly likeable drink. Campari and anejo tequila combined to create a sweet first note, followed by a long-lasting, off-putting bitter note from cacao mezcal. Though the bitterness eventually faded into a pleasant cocoa aftertaste (a gulp of water helped to speed the process), one member of our group remarked “I shouldn’t have to spend so much time mitigating my drink.”
Better was the Silverado (horseradish, coconut, green chartreuse, grapefruit, lime, silver tequila). Basically a margarita with an earthy edge to it, the drink featured the horseradish in the mid-to-end notes without the characteristic sinus-clearing kick.
Like The Bachelor Farmer upstairs, the Marvel Bar also features a number of expertly-crafted classic cocktails — prepare for a strong, booze-forward highball if you go this route. (Read our review of The Bachelor Farmer — including a few cocktails — here)
Fans of La Belle Vie’s lounge, unite — there’s another cocktail-forward bar in town. Belly up to the bar, grab an Angophile and a $1 cup of Cheetos, and oh — by the way — you’re not dreaming if you notice the “-1” floor on the elevator wall on your way out.
BEST BET: Try the Angophile, a drinkable, “Christmas-flavored” rendition of a flip.
Cocktails in the Minneapolis Warehouse District
50 North 2nd Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
OWNERS: Eric and Andrew Dayton
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED: No / No
PRICE RANGE: $10-13 per drink