Recently I flew into Minneapolis for a few days to lead a panel at the Fourth Annual Whiskey on Ice festival. Sadly local laws don’t allow for the sale of alcohol and tobacco at the same place, so there were no cigar bars to be found. But while I was there I wanted to check out some of the local flavor, which found me at two distilleries, three bourbon bars, and The Museum of Russian Art. I discovered that people in Minneapolis really really love their whiskey, and I can’t wait to get back and explore more of this awesome city. Check out some of the cool places I found on my first trip to the Twin Cities:

Dalton and Wade

323 N Washington Ave.

Minneapolis, MN 55401

This is the bohemian whiskey bar with horse racing murals, a rooftop bar, and a crazy-long (and spendy) bourbon list. Just don’t try to order a Wisconsin (Brandy) Old Fashioned here – bourbon is definitely the focus and the Wade Old Fashioned is about as close as you get to the official cocktail of Louisville. They’re so into the Kentucky Bourbon aesthetic they serve amazing pimento cheese and they’re having a rooftop Derby Party! It felt like a slice of home away from home, and I’d love to come back with a big group of friends and just chill on the tufted leather sofas and sip bourbon for a while.

Manny’s Steakhouse

825 S Marquette Ave. 

Minneapolis, MN 55402

Ordering dinner at this classic, world-renowned steakhouse feels like dinner AND a show. The waiter wheels out a table full of slabs of premium beef so you can see exactly what you are ordering. So you want a two pound tomahawk steak? No problem. I went with the smallest steak they had and I can honestly say it was one of the top five steaks of my life. The bar was definitely more wine heavy than anything, and as far as whiskeys go there was a clear emphasis on Scotch, but the bourbon selection was definitely more solid than you would expect outside of Louisville. I had a rye Manhattan made with Roknar Rye from Far North Spirits, which had a smoky quality to it. I counted over 80 whiskeys in total on the spirits menu, making this a great destination for whiskey lovers visiting the area. This is the place to go to live out all your Ron Swanson dreams.

Gianni’s Steakhouse

635 Lake St. E. 

Wayzata, MN 55391


One of the first things I noticed when I walked in was a near-empty bottle of Michter’s Toasted Rye on the back bar, a sign that the whiskey list is going to be pretty great and the locals also know great whiskey. There is a voluminous wine list and a separate spirits list which contains a page each of Scotches, bourbons, and rye whiskeys, including a subsection on the bourbon page for just the Bottled-in-Bond bourbons. The food was out of this world good and the atmosphere was so great more than two hours flew by and we barely noticed. I just wish I had saved room for dessert!

Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl