Ben Graves has extensively researched the life of John Scott Bradstreet, a Minneapolis Institute of Arts founder and friend of Oscar Wilde and Theodore Wirth.
The research shows up at every turn in Bradstreet’s new home on Hennepin. Bradstreet’s designs (found in nearby Lowry Hill houses) are embedded in the doors and walls. Some of the flooring represents Bradstreet’s technique of charring and brushing wood, which he used to emulate wood that had been buried for hundreds of years. (One of Graves’ neighbors used pickle juice to even out the color.)
The menu features Japanese and Moorish influences, in honor of Bradstreet’s taste, down to the spiced T?garashi fries.
Executive Chef Blake Meier, a former chef decuisine at Cosmos, is an artist who entered the food industry to help pay for school, Graves said.
“The plate has kind of become his canvas,” he said.
The cocktail list includes holdovers from Bradstreet’s former downtown location, such as Juliet and Romeo, along with standards like the Hemingway Daiquiri. (Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway worried he had diabetes and wanted to cut out sugar — but not drinking — so his namesake cocktail substitutes grapefruit juice for sugar.)
New cocktails include Soak the Sin, a fresh take on the gin and tonic made with watermelon juice. One Bam Bird features peach tea-steeped Famous Grouse whisky, Lazarroni Amaretto, demerara, lemon, peach bitters and orange flower water.
“Whisky and peach just go really well together,” said returning Bradstreet bar manager Jennifer Boutell.
All of the chairs in Bradstreet are soft, and that’s intentional.
“We wanted people to come and relax and hang out all night,” Graves said.