If you’ve never been to Concourse A at Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport — scratch that, if you’ve never even heard of Concourse A, you’re not alone.
But soon you’ll have reason to make the trek. The Cocktail Room at 18th & Central, near gate A10, opens Friday, Jan. 24 The relaxed yet opulent bar — there’s a crystal chandelier — is inspired by Tattersall’s northeast Minneapolis cocktail room with a drink menu that reflects the popular distillery’s home base (located at 1620 Central Av. NE., Mpls., tattersalldistilling.com). Thanks to its faraway location, airport officials are pitching it as a speakeasy for people in the know.
To get there, you’ll have to take a tram to the end of a different concourse (C), then ride three people-movers through A, the concourse that’s home to tiny jets destined for nearby Midwestern destinations. The remote area might seem like an unlikely home for a new cocktail bar. Or is it?
“It’s down in an area of the airport that’s away from everything,” said Butch Howard, who spearheaded the project three years in the making for HMSHost, the global airport concession company. “If it was some little airport bar, no one would come here.”
Indeed, that’s what used to be in this location, a beer-and-sandwiches joint called Skol. Now, the Tattersall-inspired bar carries a name with deep Twin Cities roots, which airport officials hope will draw visitors and locals to this distant corner of MSP.
“This gives us the opportunity to show what we do in Minneapolis and St. Paul to a lot of folks who just connect and don’t set foot outside the airport,” Howard said. “We thought that the Tattersall brand would be a draw, that people would walk down here.”
Those who make the journey will find a tufted leather sofa, yellow and gray counters with outlets, and an oval bar under that chandelier. There’s also a gaping hole in one wall, soon to be a doorway to a yet-to-be-constructed vintage video game room (coming in March).
The menu, bound in the same leather used by Red Wing Shoes, lists several shareable plates — chicken pizza, onion dip, sausage and cheese boards. Many of the drinks on offer are the same that Tattersall makes at its distillery, including its beloved Old Fashioned. There are also a few airport-only additions, namely the Bloody Mary and Screwdriver, those favorites of frequent flyers. Another notable new drink is the light pink Paloma, an impossible drink for the distillery, which is bound by law only to mix spirits it makes in-house. Tattersall doesn’t make tequila, so the off-site bar gives it a chance to shake up the grapefruit-agave cocktail.
There are also two cocktails on tap, plus a selection of additional spirits, wines and local beers.
For those who seek out the speakeasy-style spot, note that there’s no password to get in. The only barrier to entry is a very long walk.