More classy joints around town

Want more places to chill in style? A&E runs down the hottest cool bars in the Twin Cities.

Keri Carlson

>”Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different than you and me” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Twin Cities have neither the old money of the East nor the new glitz of the West, but St. Paul did produce F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote one of the most well-known critiques of the American wealthy elite in “The Great Gatsby.”

While there’s always been a Midwest modesty ’round these parts, the Cities’ past is not all farming, blue collar and mill workers. Big money, from James J. Hill’s railroads to 3M’s Post-its, has helped institute a class of luxury, bringing to life such places as the Ordway Theater and Lake Minnetonka. While A&E is not encouraging a celebration of all things gaudy, materialistic and pointlessly extravagant, there are some benefits of the upper-class lifestyle. They sure know how to drink.

For most of us, our drinking comes with a budget, and for cheap rail vodka and beer, this town is not so bad – dive bars we know how to do. But every so often it’s nice to indulge in somethin’ a little sweeter that won’t leave you dry-heaving and begging for Advil in the morning. Drinking, as many hoity-toity establishments prove, can be an art all its own. And this season, when perhaps you have some extra cash from Grandma in your pocket, try livin’ it up. The Twin Cities has plenty of joints that would meet Mr. Gatsby’s standards.

La Belle Vie

510 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis (612) 874-6440
Set in the luxurious Groveland building, La Belle Vie serves a phenomenal Mediterranean menu, and the luxurious martini bar boasts elegant chandeliers, chaise lounges and a classic American posh ambiance.

W.A. Frost and Company

374 Selby Ave., St. Paul (651) 224-5715
For decades, St. Paul residents (Fitzgerald among them) have engaged in a whirlwind love affair with W.A. Frost and the surrounding Historic Cathedral Hill neighborhood. The historical restaurant and bar is home to a robust wine collection amidst Romanesque architecture and cobblestone streets that make up the neighborhood; the perfect place for a romantic holiday evening.

The Peacock Lounge

1304 University Ave. N.E., Minneapolis (612) 623-4211
Attached to the North East restaurant Erte, The Peacock is a classy 20s-30s styled bar with a good martini list. Try ordering a lemon drop.

The King and I Thai

1346 LaSalle Ave., Minneapolis (612) 332-6928
Aside from the delicious curry and chili-infused Thai dishes, The King and I Thai also houses a sexy, dimly lit lounge with an array of exotic specialty cocktails and appetizers with DJs who know how to lay down the grooves.

The Lexington

1096 Grand Ave., St. Paul (651) 222-5878
The Lexington, which has been around since 1935, has a beautiful dark wood bar. The thing to order here is the Brandy Alexander. The bar makes their own ice cream for this drink, and the results are heavenly.

Kitty Cat Klub

315 14th Ave. S.E., Minneapolis (612) 331-9800
Even on campus there’s a hideaway from the scrubby, sleazy bars aimed at 18-year-olds with fake IDs. The Kitty Cat Klub provides a lush, cozy atmosphere with fairytale-esque backdrops and big soft sofas and chairs.

-Sara Miller and Keri Carlson contributed to this report