Minneapolis is home to a vibrant array of eclectic and offbeat bars and speakeasies that will add something unexpected to your next night out. From hidden Minneapolis speakeasies tucked away in unassuming locations to quirky watering holes with unconventional themes and mystery libations, the city offers a wide range of options for enjoying a cocktail off the typical tourist trail. We’re here to raise a glass to the bold bartenders and cocktail creatives doing things a little differently!
Basement Bars and Speakeasies in Minneapolis
It’s no secret that Minneapolis is a great place to eat and drink—but this list highlights a few bars and speakeasies that are still a little hush-hush. Like many cities in America, the speakeasy renaissance is going strong in Minneapolis, each with a creative way to get inside.
Hidden in Uptown, this low-lit but high-vibe space can be found down a back alley and through a door with a red light and bouncer behind a sliding peephole (look for the HVAC units if you get lost). Cocktails hearken back to Prohibition-era concoctions and the hush-hush food menu includes a beloved burger. Check out their calendar for fun events, from comedy showcases and jazz trios to Burlesque reviews.
Step into the enigmatic world of Billy After Dark, a cavelike speakeasy hidden underneath the stylish Billy Sushi restaurant in North Loop. Indulge in mystery drinks crafted to match your mood, gaze up into the LED starry night “sky,” and grab a selfie in front of the very Instagrammable neon signs. Reservations are available via a deceptively sketchy link on BAD’s social profile (we won’t say any more to avoid spoiling the fun).
Another North Loop hidden gem, the cozy Cobble Social House serves up a small but mighty sushi menu and craft cocktails in an intimate setting—look for the blue neon eye above the door off the alley between Monte Carlo and D.NOLO. Once an eyewear shop (hence the mysterious eye logo), Cobble Social House is now home to local art, DJs on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 20/20 vibes.
Skip the crowds at Chef Ann Kim’s award-winning restaurants with this speakeasy duo. At Young Joni, slip into the back alley for those incredible pizzas in a retro-chic, wood-and-wallpaper setting (think dark and cozy bunker with 70s estate sale vibes). If the red neon light is on, the party is waiting. Young Joni’s sister restaurant in Uptown, Kim's, is also home to a hidden basement cocktail lounge and serves up delightful cocktails and snacks with funky tunes on the vintage turntable and reel-to-reel tape deck.
Popular with the college set, this underground bar offers regular opportunities to show off your dance skills and esoteric knowledge with live music, trivia, and DJs near-nightly. For more unique bar vibes, Nolo’s Rooftop Bar is also an event magnet in the summer (only this time with a view).
Sitting pretty in the lobby of the Emery Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, this chic bar and restaurant serves up Northern Italian fare and small-batch cocktails. The twist? The building was once a bank, giving the space an old-money feel. The circa-1906 building comes complete with a bank vault transformed into a wine cellar and ornate columns and palatial ceilings that make you feel like dressing to the nines as you sip your limoncello spritz.
It’s not every day you get to enjoy a mac-and-cheese-topped pizza and a cocktail made with elixirs brewed onsite inside a former stagecoach factory, right? This eclectic spot is named after Earl Giles, an apothecary owner (and distant relative of co-owner Jeff Erkkila) who flew a plane around North America to deliver liquor disguised as medicine during Prohibition. Packed with living plants and a dizzying array of drinks, a visit to Earl Giles is a bit like medicine itself.
On the 27th floor of one of Minneapolis’s best-known buildings—the Foshay Tower—Prohibition Bar tips its hat to the pioneering skyscraper’s 1920s-and-30s decor and history. The tallest building in town from 1929 until 1972, the 32-story Foshay makes the perfect setting for a speakeasy-inspired cocktail lounge with a view. Fun fact: The 27th floor was once builder Wilbur Foshay’s board room and private escape atop his towering achievement (and legend has it that he might still be hanging around…).
Offering a taste of Tex-Mex in the Midwest, Little Tijuana (AKA Lil T’s) was once a burrito-slinging dive bar on Eat Street before it was lovingly reimagined as a warming, mid-century drinking hole complete with a menu of global bar snacks, Christmas lights on the ceiling, 70s-hued geometric wallpaper, desert murals with a touch of cheeky alien invasion, and the Bee Gees on vinyl.
Another new neighborhood bar reimagining a beloved old neighborhood bar, Meteor is for you if you’re nostalgic for pinball, atari, and all things pop culture from a simpler time. Grab a boiler (a craft beer and a bump) and a hot dog, and settle in to enjoy the kind of place where it feels like everyone could know your name if you come often enough.
Craving a trip to the UK but can’t find the cash or time for a jaunt to Heathrow? Brit’s Pub is the next best thing, and it’s in Downtown Minneapolis on Nicollet. Cozy up with a pint of Fuller’s London Pride, order a few Scotch Eggs and a Guinness stew or cheese toasty, and take in the surroundings like you just teleported 6500 miles away. (PS They’ve got rooftop lawn bowling in the warmer months!)
When you think Minneapolis, Minnesota, you may not think new wave chic French cocktail bar, but the times, they are a-changin’. Located on the fifth floor of the Rand Tower Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Miaou Miaou showcases French-meets-tropical flavors under the glow of pink neon with plenty of chic spaces to see and be seen. Check out Miaou Miaou’s sister restaurant Blondette on the rooftop for French fare from local celeb chef Daniel del Prado.
We love a bar with a singular focus, and at Gori Gori Peku, it’s alllll about Japanese whisky. Hidden upstairs above Sanjusan and across from Kado no Mise, this bar transports you to a premium Tokyo watering hole where seasoned experts in all things Japanese spirits guide you on a journey through rare whisky, sake, hand-shaped ice, and Japanese ingredients like ume, rice koji, togarashi, and shiso.
Searching for great mocktails in Minneapolis? This resort-like, Laotian-style eatery offers one of the largest selections of non-alcoholic drinks in Minneapolis. Rarely do you see so much effort and care put into the booze-free bevies at an award-winning eatery, but chef-owner Ann Ahmed’s bar team goes above and beyond with herbal essences, tropical fruits, and delicate ferments.
If you want a date night-worthy bar but are more of a Brown Butter Blondie person than an Old Fashioned aficionado, Edwards is your destination. The pastry chefs here take their desserts as seriously as any craft cocktail, balancing bold flavors and seasonal ingredients with upscale presentations. Bonus: plenty of plant-based and gluten-free options cater to anyone’s sweet tooth.
At this North Loop hangout, you get to be as creative as the bartenders. Part DIY workshop, part craft cocktail, mocktail, beer, and wine bar, Upstairs Circus offers a full menu of projects from hand-stamped leather koozies and pet collars to wooden beer carriers and butcher boards.
Microdistillery meets mad scientist at this Northeast Minneapolis cocktail room next door to Tattersall’s tasting room features a wide array of spirits, bitters, and botanical tinctures produced onsite by Dashfire. If you’re a fan of unique flavors and lesser-known ingredients, Elusive’s foraging-inspired flavors range from chicory and ancho cacao to sage gin and green banana peel. Want to dive deeper into the experimentation? Order a mystery cocktail to give your bartender free rein to blow your mind.