I love Chicago. Man, do I love Chicago. For me, it was the ideal place to escape the brutal Phoenix summer heat. Yes, I will take the muggy midwest heat over the oven that is the desert southwest from March to October. Hands down. It is NOT cooler in the shade there. Nor is it cooler when the sun goes down, either. It is, however, cooler by the lake. Way cooler. In the Windy city, places like The Pump Room and the now-closed Hudson's and Green Dolphin Street made me think of the 1920's and 1930's would have been. You know, the days of Al Capone. I may not be historically correct, but I can imagine walking at twilight in the city during that era with the warm breeze off the lake. The time of Speakeasys and hearing jazz music as you walk by a club. When people dressed to the nines up to go out. Again, it's good to be me. I found two places in the Twin Cities that give me that roaring 20's feel. Prohibition in Minneapolis and The Strip Club in St. Paul.
Prohibition itself makes up the entire 27th floor (as far as I can tell) of the Foshay Tower. The mahogany-paneled rooms were for the private use of Wilbur Foshay, a bit of a rouge businessman himself. It's the place where you can imagine Michael Corleone behind his desk looking out tall windows over the city debating just how he would be settling all family business. When a colleague from the Bay Area was in town, I knew we had to take her somewhere unique. We got there after happy hour and were rewarded with the most comfortable and fashionable leather sofa and chairs for a girls chat. Thunderstorms were in the forecast that evening and that's when I found out that Northern California rarely gets the dramatic summer weather we do. Our guest was perfectly willing to let us locals get the seats with view after the water cooler talk that day of tornadoes and "600-mile-an-hour winds". (We have a jokester or two in our office.) Showing up after the crowd, we were able to talk without having to yell or be subjected to anything vaguely resembling a pick-up joint that can often permeate some of the hip places. All in all a good time was had. One of the Prohibition's draws for the hip crowds is the creative cocktails. I had a Bleutini which made me think that not all martinis taste like rubbing alcohol with olive juice. Another concoction they serve is named Behind the Green Door. I'm not entirely certain of the contents, I think, Grey Goose, Midori, and a lump of dry ice. It makes me laugh every time I see one. They really are over-the-top. Prohibition wins my "Best Place to Bring an Out-Of-Towner". Preferably on a Saturday afternoon of after 7:30 in the evening.
The Strip Club in St. Paul has a similar vibe. That, however, is where you go when you are also hungry. True story, the first time I went to the Strip Club (and I should probably explain that's strip as in steak) we drove right past it as it is in mostly residential area. The building looks like one of those that was a once store downstairs, and the proprietor lived in the upstairs quarters. Inside, the decor is red, black, and cream. Like Prohibition, it has a masculine feel to it. Gentlemen out there, may I recommend this as a perfect first date place. Incidentally this is true even if you are entertaining a vegetarian. Even if they didn't have a diverse menu (food other than meat), the restaurant sits atop Dayton's Bluff and the view of downtown St. Paul at night, well anyone who is not crazy about steak or seafood would be wowed by it. And if you are lucky enough to climbs the spiral staircase and be seated upstairs, you might just be surprised by one of the wait staff popping out from the behind the bookcase that doubles as a book case. As far as the menu, I recommend anything that was once mooing. Check out the menu on their website domeats.com. I know, right?