- 332 1st Ave., Minneapolis, MN, 55401
- Overall User Rating:
- (1 rating)
- Official Web Site:
Elixir Lounge is intimate, relaxed and chic, something brand new for the increasingly loud and obnoxious downtown Minneapolis bar scene. Although, apparently this refreshing establisment is not that new—it snuck in right under our noses a couple of months ago.
The goods: Elixir's vibe is somewhere in between The Lounge and the Imperial Room. Like The Lounge, it's classy enough to be located in a different metropolis and yet it's dance floor is as accessible as the Imperial Room's. This isn't to say that Elixir is without faults, but it's on the right wavelength for what I usually look for when spending a night out downtown. It fills that long-awaited space for guys and girls who like to dance without being groped, those who want drink specials on weekends and those who appreciate quick service from one of the three bars in the small space. They also have hookah available on the patio and an interesting list of house cocktails. The bartender recommended the Dragon's Kiss, which tasted exactly like watermelon Bubbalicious gum and—days later—I still can't decide if this was a good or bad thing. I'm leaning towards good. DJ Ron Ron was expertly manning the turntables and the video screens (with matching music videos) to keep the dance floor well stocked with movers and shakers. He played a solid mix of new Top 40, old Top 40 and a little bit of lesser known electronica. Ron Ron played my Spice Girls request, so that was a positive even though at the time I was genuinely miffed that he only played 10 seconds of "Say You'll Be There."
The gripes: The door staff kind of threw me off when it seemed like they were going to charge us a cover. Unlike most other cover charging bars, they don't hide the inside at Elixir. So you can't be like, "Hey, this place looks cool from out here. Sure, take my $8" and then walk in to an empty bar and be like, "Heeeeell no." I like their honest approach, but I'll be honest as well and say that at 11 p.m. it did not look cover-worthy from the street—it looked like a vacant (albeit gorgeous) bar. So, they didn't charge us at the door but it seemed like they might have started charging once it got busier and they do have a cover on certain nights according to their website. If I had arrived an hour later, a cover charge would have seemed more reasonable, because around midnight the bar went from empty to wall-to-wall packed. Still though, covers are a drag.
The GREAT deals: The rapid influx of people was mind-boggling because everyone got there just in time to pay full price for their drinks. From 10 p.m. until midnight they had $3 rail drinks—specials on Saturday night deserve more attention than that, no? Elixir seems to be giving away the bar for the sake of affordable luxury, offering hookah, drink and appetizer specials every day of the week. Their post-work "Happier Hour" is unbeatable with $1 drinks (OMG) and cheap appetizers from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
All things considered, Elixir is the precocious new kid in the neighborhood. It's cool but unpretentious, the music is rad and the crowd was noticeably lacking in brosephs (yay!). And really, does it get better than $1 drinks and free hookah?
Annie D'Souza is the editor of local culture website, The Suggestion Boxer. She lives in Minneapolis and works on the Internet.