A celery rib here, a pickle spear there, a hot pepper over here—for years, this veggie set has been the cornerstone to a good bloody mary. Part of the cocktail game also calls for topping off this tomato juice and vodka concoction to new heights with cured meats, olives (stuffed or otherwise), other marinated vegetables, seafood and even hamburgers and other beefed up sandwiches keeping balance atop the heap.
While creativity is a welcomed ingredient to any food or beverage item, overdressed bloody marys can run the risk of being all show and no go. Plenty of area bars and restaurants offer the perfect blend of style and taste. We suggest:
Lakes Tavern & Grill offers a fishy twist to the classic bloody mary. The blackened shrimp bloody mary is a spicy mix featuring Absolut vodka, topped with a skewer with two blackened shrimp, olives, pickles and cheese curds, served with a chaser of your choice. Stop in from 3–6 p.m. or 8 p.m.–close daily for a special happy hour price.
Lakes Tavern & Grill
9240 Hudson Road, Woodbury
O’Malley’s Irish Pub serves up a traditional bloody mary made with a homemade mix, alongside a dill pickle bloody, and for a little more heat, try the Sriracha bloody mary. On Sunday, O’Malley’s offers a $10 build-your-own bloody mary, where customers can choose their own toppings, including onion and celery sticks, jalapenos, horseradish, cheese, beef sticks, olives, blue cheese stuffed olives and more.
O'Malley's Irish Pub
1775 Radio Drive, Woodbury
Take a trip around the metro with even more bloody mary picks from our sister publications:
The Hilltop offers a special weekend price between 10 a.m.–3 p.m. The house-made bloody mary mix recipe is a bit thicker, as it’s made with gazpacho, which is combined with Clamato juice, horseradish, Sriracha sauce, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and spices. The medium-spiced cocktail is simply garnished with a pickle, a lime wedge and some olives.
5101 Arcadia Ave., Edina
Tavern on France offers a build-your-own bloody mary, and customers can indicate their preferences for vodka, heat, vegetables, meat and cheeses to have combined with the house-made bloody mary mix that is hearty and tangy with a slight kick. Ask for Absolut Peppar vodka, Tabasco hot sauce, jalapeno jack-stuffed olives and pepper jack cheese cubes. For a milder ride, consider A1 sauce or Worcestershire combined with a simple celery stick and cheddar cheese. (Note: During Sunday brunch, the house bloody mary, not the BYO, is available for $3.50.)
Tavern on France
6740 France Ave. S., Edina
Bunny’s Bar & Grill in St. Louis Park serves up a memorable cocktail with horseradish, Kramarczuk’s spicy beef stick, celery, olive, pickle spear and a cheese skewer, with a Coors Light snit. If that isn’t enough to tempt you, Bunny’s offers a free bloody mary with the signature breakfast, seven days a week.
Bunny’s Bar & Grill
5916 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park
The short but perfectly curated bloody mary section on Benedict’s menu includes the eatery’s signature bloody, plus a few variations for more adventurous drinkers. The Nordic features dill vodka, Clamato juice, cucumber and gravlax—to make you feel like you’re having brunch bundled in your parka, watching the midnight sun rise over a fjord. You can also try the maria, a “tequila riff on the classic,” or a michelada, widely known as a “Mexican bloody mary,” highlighting spicy hot sauce and beer.
845 Lake St., Wayzata
6Smith overlooks the lake and shines the spotlight on classic fare with an elevated twist. Every Sunday from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., you can add a trip to the bloody mary bar to your brunch bill, and top your hearty pick-me-up with plentiful veggies and snacks.
294 Grove Lane E., Wayzata
At Minnetonka’s Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille, one of the stars of the menu is the gold nugget bloody, which is available any time. The surprisingly high-brow cocktail includes a spicy twist, with jalapeno-infused vodka and homemade bloody mary mix. Add in a skewer of tasty nibbles and follow it up with the Gold Nugget amber.
Gold Nugget Tavern and Grille
14401 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka
Brick & Bourbon serves bloody marys all week, but the weekend brings out the triple threat. From 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, head over for the specialty bloody marys with house-made sauces and secret blends. Take a stab at the seafood iteration (crab macaroni salad, shrimp with cocktail sauce and crab in an edible radicchio bowl); the smoked version (bacon, cheese skewer and bacon-wrapped beef stick, served oak-smoked under a glass cloche); or the spicy concoction with a quesadilla, cream cheese peppers with jalapeño poppers.
Brick & Bourbon
7887 Elm Creek Blvd. N., Maple Grove
Claddagh Irish Pub features the Guinness bloody mary with Sobieski vodka, tomato juice, Guinness, of course, and corned beef. Yes, you read that right. Topped with all your favorite fixings. It’ll have your taste buds doing an Irish jig.
Claddagh Irish Pub
7890 Main St. N., Maple Grove
Lucky’s 13 offers a traditional bloody mary, a bacon bloody, a jalapeno bloody and a horseradish bloody. If you can’t decide, order the flight. Lucky’s also has their bloody mary mix for sale, so you can enjoy your own concoctions at home.
3000 Harbor Lane N., Plymouth
Served up all week, Tavern 4&5 uses Tito’s (unless otherwise requested) vodka in its mason jar bloody mary, which is amped up with a secret recipe mix—even the manager doesn’t know what it is—topped with pepperoni, ghost pepper jack cheese, pickled carrots and pickled stuffed filthy olives.
16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie
Get a standard bloody mary any day of the week at Floyd’s Bar, but the weekender bloody mary comes out from open to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from open until they run out on Sundays—on holidays, too! Made with a house mix, the weekender’s accoutrements feature olives, shrimp, Mackenthun’s beef stick, marble jack and pepper jack cheese, pepperoncini and garlic.
1758 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria
The word is surely out that the Garage Bar and Bowl was named the 2019 best traditional bloody mary, thanks to the Twin Cities Bloody Mary Festival. See what all the buzz is about by rolling by to check out the bloody mary bar from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Sundays. The usual suspects will sit alongside chives, green peppers, pepperoni and—wait for it—fresh and deep-fried cheese curds, bratwursts, chicken wings and housemade bacon.
Garage Bar and Bowl
16 W. First St., Waconia
Whether it’s on the patio or inside, Washington Square Bar & Grill, a go-to spot for plenty of locals, offers its infused bloody mary, boasting a house-made bloody mix and a choice of the house-infused Finlandia pepper, horseradish, cilantro vodka or cucumber gin.
Washington Square Bar & Grill
4736 Washington Ave., White Bear Lake
Get in a Snit
Order a bloody mary, and chances are you’ll get a snit, too. Apparently, serving three ounces of beer alongside the cocktail is a regional thing—Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Surrounding states likely serve up the little buddy, too, but why? Nobody seems to know why or how the duo was first introduced, but ours is not to reason why because this is a marriage made in cocktail heaven. Cheers!
Make it Yourself
If home entertaining is more your style, Chaska’s Dolce Vita Wine Shop has hosted bloody mary mix smackdowns, where customers sample and vote on several mixes. Spooky Dill Pickle bloody mary mix has won twice, and second place has gone to Demitri’s, which is a seasoning mix added to Clamato or tomato juice.