Downstairs from Monello is downtown’s latest speakeasy, Constantine. And it’s a hoot.
Visually, anyway. Co-owner Brent Frederick scrounged his way through Iowa churches to outfit the space with ecclesiastical touches, a tongue-and-cheek shout-out to the 1929 building’s original tenant, the Second Church of Christ, Scientist.
The cozy space is a platform for Jester Concepts barkeep Jesse Held’s vivacious, inventive cocktails ($8-$12).
On the food front, chef Mike DeCamp never ventures too far from the deep-fryer, wittily cranking out crispy, salty snacks ($5-$12) that trigger thirst: a basket of fiendishly addictive Tater Tots, hard-shelled tacos stuffed with well-seasoned pulled pork and razor clams; nachos dressed with foie gras terrine and molten brie.
Best are the cute lingonberry-filled riff on the Pop-Tart ($3) and the first-rate burger ($5). It’s DeCamp’s ode to McDonald’s, a single patty of brisket and chuck (and scandalous amounts of butter) and no-nonsense toppings: onions, pickles and American cheese.
It’s fantastic. “I try not to eat too many of them,” DeCamp said with a laugh. Yeah, I know the feeling.
Constantine, 1115 2nd Av. S., Mpls., 612-886-1297, constantinempls.com. Open 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sun.-Thu., 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.