2 Gingers and headcheese at The Local

by Mike on January 20, 2012 · 1 comment

It’s about -4° here in Minneapolis, and after my first full week of The Lion King tour, all I have to say is: thank you, Josh Landay!

Josh is a dear friend from The Lion King in Las Vegas.  He’s a Lion King tour veteran, and his recommendation of The Local, a proper Irish whiskey bar that is only 2 blocks from my hotel, is a winner.  It’s so cold here that my nose hairs are freezing, and The Local is the perfect place to escape the hypothermia.

It’s been a Minneapolis institution since 1997, and its claim to fame is that it has served more Jameson’s Irish Whiskey in the last 4 years than anyplace else in the world.  Makes sense.  IT’S FRIGGIN COLD HERE!

The space is big, but the layout is super cozy and outfitted with beautiful mahogany woodwork imported from Ireland.  There are plenty of nooks to nestle into with an ice cold pint and a whiskey back.

They have an excellent selection of suds and spirits including some excellent local beers like Fultons IPA, and a great Belgium-style dubbel called Dark Abbey from Harriet Brewing.  I was really impressed with a bottle of Irish whiskey called 2 Gingers.  I had bought a bottle at the liquor store around the corner with no idea of its affiliation with The Local.  Patrick, the bartender told me how the previous owner of The Local had given up his ownership stake to pursue the creation of 2 Gingers.  It’s made by The Cooley Distillery, which was the last independent Distillery in Ireland until it was recently bought out by Jim Beam.  It is his recipe, and it’s smooth.  So smooth, I went out and got myself a bottle.

The first night I stopped in after the show with Adam (Pumbaa), Lisa (Young Nala/Young Simba sub wrangler backstage), and Robbie (Ed the Hyena). I chowed on an exceptional plate of fish and chips complete with malt vinegar and a tarter sauce.  I washed it down with a Fulton’s IPA, a local brew, and a 2 Gingers whiskey, neat.  We came in just as the kitchen was closing, so our options were limited, but Robbie told me that he heard that The Local was known for their cured meats.  There’s not much better in the world than cured meats, so I knew I would be back.

When I came back a few days later, I was told by Patrick the bartender that the chef cured the meats on site, and that he was a bit obsessed about it.  Very cool.  I ordered the charcuterie platter as quickly as I could, and spent the next twenty minutes exploring the fennel salami, coppa, lomo, and head cheese. The coppa was shaved into wonderfully peppery bites and the lomo had all of the richness of prosciutto di parma.  According to Wikipedia, head cheese is not a cheese but a meat jelly made with flesh from the head of a calf, pig, sheep or cow, and often set in aspic.  Hmmm. Usually this sort of thing would be up my wife’s alley, but I decided to give it a go. It was delightful, with a smear of stone ground mustard!  Then, some sharp chedder and a semi-soft rosemary scallion cheese drizzled with a balsamic reduction, pickled onions, fresh, and carmelized apples rounded out the plate.  My only regret was that I didn’t get a chance to try the pork rillets.  Next time!

To review:  Great beer, great whiskey, cured meats, and a great atmosphere await you at The Local.

Next Up:  Nye’s Polonaise, named “best bar in America” by Esquire magazine.  Home to the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band. Intrigued?  I am.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim Barry January 20, 2012 at 11:57 am

Now that is my kind of place.


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