By John Garland
A few weeks ago, stuck in the doldrums of what looked to be a hopeless Wild-Avalanche series, I ventured to Rudolphs on Franklin and Lyndale for a glass of scotch. Little did I realize the habit I was about to form.
I never go to Rudolphs to eat. There may not be a single type of cuisine the Twin Cities does more poorly as a whole than barbecue. And while Rudolphs churns out a few staples to decent effect, they’re squarely part of that rule rather than an exception to it. But it still makes for a great place to have a drink and watch a game when you don’t feel like waiting an hour for a bar table at The Lowry.
Serious scotch drinkers would direct you to Marvel Bar, Merlin’s Rest, Muddy Pig, or the St. Paul Grill for bottle lists as expansive as the Firth of Clyde. And it’s great to have those options, but consider the opposite appeal: what Rudolphs lacks in cavernous cabinets, they make up for with a weekly fire sale on a few great bottles.
Saturdays from 4pm until close, these are among the $6 scotches at Rudolphs: Balvenie 12, Glenlivet 12, Glenmorangie, Laphroaig 10, Macallan 12, Talisker 10, and, amazingly, Lagavulin 16. That’s world-class 16-year-old scotch for $6. The value is especially attractive in that neighborhood, where you could walk up the hill to drink whiskey at Burch, but not before taking out a second mortgage on your house.
And with craft cocktails and more refined drinking garnering the buzz in town lately, props to Rudolphs. How sweet it is to sit down at a joint with no pretense, drink a fine single malt at a great price, and have a good view of the game.