The dark end of the street

Bradstreet Craftshouse’s new location is grown-up and sexy.

Bradstreet Crafthouses Black Walnut Old Fashioned is made with Bulleit Bourbon, Nux Alpina Black Walnut Liqueur, Demerara, house orange bitters and an orange slice garnish.

James Healy

Bradstreet Crafthouse’s Black Walnut Old Fashioned is made with Bulleit Bourbon, Nux Alpina Black Walnut Liqueur, Demerara, house orange bitters and an orange slice garnish.

by Grant Tillery

Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse was one of the progenitors of the local cocktail bar trend when it opened in 2009 in the former Graves 601 hotel on the gristly edges of Block E in downtown Minneapolis. The original location shuttered last year, moving to the former Rye Deli on Hennepin Avenue. While Bradstreet was always one of the more grown-up cocktail bars in town, the new location exudes mature refinement in space, presentation and taste. Swank cocktail lounge vibes are immediate upon walking in the door. Though Bradstreet takes more design cues from the âÄô70s than the âÄô60s, it still feels like a place Don Draper would retire to after work for an Old Fashioned. The subdued yet kind service allows for intimate conversation, as they stay out of your business without making you feel ignored. Complementary rum punch proved a nice way to start my late-night meal. While I often use the word âÄúpleasantâÄù with derisive undertones, the punch at Bradstreet was the good kind of pleasant âÄî light, sweet and drinkable in large quantities. Thank goodness the glasses of the fruity favorite were small because I would have guzzled it down throughout the night and the rest of the meal wouldâÄôve been viewed through foggy lenses. The Black Walnut Old Fashioned ($12) is strong. At first I wanted it stronger because it tasted a tad more diluted than I expected it to. Fifteen minutes after finishing it, I changed my mind. Though the drink could be less watery, it still is long on the subtle citrus flavor that defines the Old Fashioned. The addition of black walnut liqueur into the mix adds nuance to the orange flavor burst, making this an ideal Old Fashioned for someone looking for balanced traditionalism. The Professor ($6, Happy Hour only) makes a case for the pairing of ginger and gin. The drink is one of the simpler concoctions on the menu (the only other ingredient in the mix is lime), and evokes a naughty version of ginger beer. The ginger zing is randy and inhibition lowering; much like the rum punch, I couldâÄôve drank dozens of these and been in a very happy place without knowing it. Organic Edamame ($8) is ubiquitous and overplayed on restaurant menus but not at Bradstreet. The toasty pea treats bathe in coarse sea salt, and butter coats the green strips of goodness, a welcome change from the dry edamame served at joint after joint. The best part is dipping the peas in the salty butter residue coating the bottom of the bowl. Maybe it was the strong spirits, but these simple enhancements brought out the natural boldness of the edamameâÄôs pea flavor. Decadent is the proper adjective for the Lobster Mac & Cheese ($16). While the lobster came in lump form instead of evenly mixed throughout the pasta, the sea creatureâÄôs succulent juices coated every noodle. The herbed breadcrumbs tasted light and fresh, and each sensuous bite is a reminder of how good you have it in that moment and of how everyone could use a little more of this lavish macaroni in their lives. Any proper dinner should begin and end with a cocktail, so the Hemingway Daiquiri ($12, $6 during Happy Hour) was in order. The daiquiriâÄôs sweetness washed down the salty flavors of the food, leaving a joyful explosion of citrus and Flora de Caña lingering on my tongue. Like HemingwayâÄôs prose, the full-bodied boldness and slight erotic sexiness of the daiquiri is a good mood-setter for things to come in the wee hours of the morning. Is Bradstreet still at the cutting edge of the pack of local cocktail bars? ThatâÄôs debatable, but itâÄôs an excellent choice if modern updates on traditional cocktails are your thing. The classic luxuriant din, solid drinks and tasty bites will keep visitors coming back for another rendezvous with a Black Walnut Old Fashioned sooner rather than later. 2.75 out of 4 stars Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse Where: 1930 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis Price $3-$27 Hours 3:30 p.m. âÄì 2 a.m. Monday-Sunday