John Scott Bradstreet, from whom Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse gets its namesake, was a local tastemaker in the Twin Cities area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an architect and interior designer, travelled widely in Europe and Asia, and was friends with Oscar Wilde and Louis Comfort Tiffany. His influence makes its way in to the cocktails of the Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse today.
“The height of the cocktail was in that 1880s to pre-Prohibition era,” says Benjamin Graves, president and chief operating officer of Graves Hospitality, which operates Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse. “That was the golden age of the cocktail.” Graves opened the restaurant in 2009 after experiencing a cocktail craze starting in New York City. “This whole movement has elevated drinks everywhere. I wanted to bring that movement to Minnesota,” he says. Originally located in the Graves 601 Hotel, Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse moved locations after the hotel became a property of Loews Hotels, reopening the summer of 2015 in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis.
Cocktails are where Bradstreet shines. On the menu are over 40 exciting and unusual cocktails, with the option for a custom drink creation for private events. Popular drinks are the award-winning, gin-based Juliet and Romeo, and the Ambitious Cactus, a margarita with a strawberry and spice twist. Moorish and Asian cuisines influence Bradstreet’s food, although Graves describes the menu as approachably American.
The 5,000-square-foot restaurant can accommodate 160 people with two private rooms that can fit 14 and 30 people. “The bar is made up of a bunch of intimate spaces,” says Graves. “You feel like you’re going into someone’s living room.” The restaurant’s door handles are antiques from the 1890s. “All the seating is soft. You sit down and you don’t want to get up,” says Graves. Rookwood tiles, wood carvings, screen walls and stained glass inspired by John Scott Bradstreet embellish the restaurant. It is not fancy or pretentious, but that’s not to say Bradstreet doesn’t have a high-end atmosphere.