The Mill: Mortimer’s Bar to add a music venue

Mortimers Bar & Restaurant // Photo courtesy Mortimer's Facebook

Mortimer’s Bar & Restaurant // Photo courtesy Mortimer’s Facebook

Mortimer’s Bar & Restaurant, the longstanding South Minneapolis dive bar taken over in June by Nightingale owners Jasha Johnston and Carrie McCabe-Johnston, will be adding on a music venue in the bar area. The renovation to add a stage and separate dining area is underway, with the first show tentatively scheduled for December 27.

McCabe-Johnston says that they saw a need for a smaller music venue in the neighborhood, especially after Dulono’s closed in July. “We are just looking to bring live entertainment to the neighborhood,” she says, “to be a home for the local musicians who have recently lost venues where they performed.”

While they’ll keep the games and dive vibe, the renovation will bring new windows, booths, and an overall brighter interior to the space. In addition, the menu will be significantly expanded. They’ve also hired booking agents who’ve worked with other venues around town like The Cause Sound Bar to book an eclectic mix of musical acts from brass to bluegrass.

McCabe-Johnston says that she hopes the new venue will bring opportunity to local artists and add to the vibrant energy of Whittier. “Over the past few years of a decline in Minneapolis music venues, starting with the Uptown and most recently Dulono’s, we realized we could fill the hole,” she says. “We live in this neighborhood and are always interested in ideas and ways to add to it and its culture.”


Farm + Vine self service line and checkout counter // Photo courtesy Farm + Vine Facebook

Farm + Vine self service line and checkout counter // Photo courtesy Farm + Vine Facebook

Farm + Vine  is a new restaurant in Minnetonka that introduces the wonders of a self-serve wine wall. Whether you’re looking for just a taste or desire a slightly healthier pour, the choice is yours. Just stop by the drink kiosk to swipe your credit card, and you’ll receive a wristband that can be used on any of the wine taps on the wall where you’ll be charged to your wristband by the ounce.

Wellbeing Brewery, which produces strictly non-alcoholic beer, opened in Missouri last year, after founder Jeff Stevens was unimpressed with his options for non-alcoholic beers on tap. The brewery will release its first two beers in January, an amber and a wheat. While the U.S. is behind on this trend, other countries like Canada and the U.K. have are already stocking quality non-alcoholic beers alongside the boozy classics.

The newest branch of Spyhouse has opened up in St. Paul on Snelling Avenue and Palace Avenue. The local coffee collective that’s risen to fame with its four highly-Instagrammable Minneapolis locations, will take advantage of this new space’s 1930s roots with some crisp modern touches. The interior seats 42, and there is a back patio for sunnier times (sigh).

BĒT Vodka, made purely from Minnesota sugar beets, is launching a release of 50-milliliter bottles. The bottles will be available at select liquor stores in two-packs.

In a deal that has potential to form a multi-billion dollar beverage wholesale conglomerate, Republic National Distributing Company and Breakthru Beverage have announced plans to merge. The decision for the second and third largest multi-state distributors in the country to join forces is in response to a market that grows increasingly competitive.

Madison’s Ale Asylum is launching in Minnesota this December. Republic will host a launch party on December 7, with statewide distribution rolling out throughout the month. Ale Asylum beers will be available at Haskell’s, Elevated Beer Wine & Spirits, and Cheers Wine & Spirits.

Bent Brewstillery is ready to release Minnesota’s first barrel-strength single malt whiskeyOne-Twenty is barreled at 120 proof and will be released at Bent’s Roseville distillery on December 2nd.


Salty Tart Bakery in St. Paul under construction // Photo courtesy Salty Tart Facebook

Salty Tart Bakery in St. Paul under construction // Photo courtesy Salty Tart Facebook

Salty Tart is unveiling a new St. Paul bakery on December 1. The current location resides in the Midtown Global Market, where it’s recently expanded to add a massive new kitchen. The new spot will be next to Heartland Restaurant, and include 60 tables for breakfast and lunch service.

Surly Brewing is rolling out a new food menu for its massive taproom space. After the closure of its second-floor fine dining restaurant Brewer’s Table and departure of the James Beard-finalist Jorge Guzman, new executive chef Ben Peine is aiming to refresh the taproom food menu with more fine dining additions, such as beer-steamed mussels with fennel sausage and smoked tomato.

Lola’s Cafe could be replacing Tin Fish on the northeast shore of Lake Calhoun, also known as Bde Maka Ska, having achieved preliminary approval by the Minneapolis Park Board for a five-year lease. The board ranked Lola’s first out of of 12 restaurants who submitted bids for the space.

Bad Waitress is relaunching its Northeast location, shifting from breakfast to cocktails. The reboot is coming after a shakeup in the management team, with the introduction of a new chef, Obediah O’Connor and bar director, Obediah O’Connor. The new evening menu will offer more upscale dishes to complement the curated cocktail menu, but the day menu will remain the same.

Crepe and Spoon opened up in Northeast yesterday, with a menu of largely non-dairy ice cream and delectable crepes. The ice cream menu has 12 options, two of which contain dairy, with flavors like pumpkin and blueberry goat cheese. The crepes come in both sweet and savory variations, with vegan meats sourced from the nearby Herbivorous Butcher.

Lucky Oven Bakery opens November 25 at 54th and Penn in Minneapolis. The bakery, adorned with 52 Betty Crocker Easy-Bake Ovens installed into the walls, will serve an all-day brunch menu until 3 p.m.

Chef Erik Anderson, owner of the Grand Cafe in South Minneapolis, will be taking over at Coi in San Francisco. Anderson is working on a new menu for Coi, which just received its third Michelin star, that will go live in January. As of now, it’s unclear how this move will affect Grand Cafe.


The Marquee at The Palace Theatre in St. Paul // The Growler Photo

The Marquee at The Palace Theater in St. Paul // The Growler Archive Photo

First Avenue has taken over the lease of Wild Tymes, the bar restaurant located next to the Palace Theater in St. Paul. The venue plans to do something similar to the Depot next to First Ave, where concert-goers can have a place to grab food and drinks before heading to the show. Plans to open by next May depend on how much renovation will be needed, but the hope is that they can create a connected entrance between the two places.

Nicollet Mall has officially reopened after closing for complete reconstruction in July 2015. The new pedestrian-friendly mall features 250 trees planted along the avenue, new multicolored LED lighting, and the biggest public art display in the city aside from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Social media star, model, and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen caused an uproar on Twitter when she asked for recommendations for the best juicy lucy in the Twin Cities on Thursday. It was initially a battle between The Nook and 5-8 Club, but she eventually landed at Matt’s Bar with her final tweet saying, “I have never had such a passionate, heated debate in my mentions. Calling you soon, Matthew.”

Hotel Minneapolis, a 111-year-old bank building in downtown Minneapolis, has changed ownership. The building will undergo a multi-million dollar renovation starting late 2018, with a full redesign for every space of the 222-room hotel.

The Dave Matthews Band will headline a pre-Super Bowl performance at the Xcel Energy Center on February 3. Tickets for “The Night Before” concert will go on sale to the public Friday, November 17 at 10 a.m.

Eaux Claires IV tickets are now on sale. The fourth annual music and arts festival is set for July 6 and 7.

*Updated November 22, to correct the Bent Brewstillery whiskey details.

The Mill is The Growler’s regular digest of all things new and notable in the world of food, drink, and culture. Stop back weekly for restaurant news, brewery rumors, and more. Have some news you want to share? Got some gossip to dish? Drop us a line at [email protected]