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Secret passageways can be found in unexpected places at the Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis June 1, 2012.

Courtney Perry, Star Tribune

THE POURHOUSE

Where: 10 S. 5th St., Mpls.

Hours: 11-2 a.m. daily.

Info: 612-843-2555, thepourhousempls.com.

Nightlife: Party like it's 1929 at Pourhouse

  • Article by: TOM HORGEN
  • Star Tribune
  • June 8, 2012 - 11:10 AM

Downtown Minneapolis needs a new party bar like the suburbs need another Applebee's.

But wait. Let's say a group of bar owners were going to open another one of these black-out-drunk party emporiums. They might as well go all out, right?

Right. The Pourhouse has gone all out. By day, it's a restaurant with a charming Prohibition-era setting -- as if you just walked onto the set of "The Untouchables." At night, it's something else entirely.

This is a party Colossus.

It's big. Actually, the Pourhouse might be the largest bar to open in downtown since the superclub era reached its zenith waaaay back in 2007.

The Pourhouse has risen from the ashes of one of those clubs. Spin once filled out two levels of the Lumber Exchange building with sleek, Vegas-style amenities. The Pourhouse goes in the opposite direction with jail-cell bathroom doors, hidden passageways and a giant flapper mural.

My quibbles are with the super-sized bar's shifting personalities.

It's Prohibition-themed, but it doesn't serve classic cocktails. Instead you get stuff like "the panty dropper" -- Absolut Raspberri, Malibu, banana schnapps and orange juice. To complicate matters, it's also a sports bar and a music club.

One thing's for sure: The Pourhouse is big enough to house all of these concepts. To help you navigate this behemoth, I've compiled a by-the-numbers guide.

12,000: The square footage of this two-level party palace. That doesn't include the back-alley patio, which is filled with bar games such as hammerschlagen, bean bags and a Jacob's Ladder.

300: The size, in inches, of the HD projection screen (the bar scene's largest). That's almost 25 feet diagonally. Beyond watching sports, you'll be able to play video games on Tuesday nights.

39: If one gigantic screen isn't enough for you, the Pourhouse has this many flat-screen TVs as backup.

34,000: The wattage pumping through the sound system, which will serve live bands, DJs, comedians and "bandaoke" (karaoke with a full backing band -- no pressure!).

1,000: The audience capacity for concerts. One manager told me they want to keep it comfortable, so "we don't have a situation like the Brick."

5: The number of bars located throughout, one on the main level, three upstairs and one on the new patio.

200: Cans of spray paint that Josh "Jawsh" Lemke used to craft two giant murals. It took him weeks to complete a two-story-high graffiti-style skyline behind the stage. Fits right in with the Prohibition theme, right? No, it doesn't. But it looks cool.

2: A footlong hot dog wasn't enough for the Pourhouse. This $10.95 wiener is double the length. The rest of the menu is just as big and kind of naughty, too. There's the $2.95 WTF Pickle ("so big even Jenna Jameson would be satisfied!"). You can get an appetizer sampler at any sports bar, but none of them are called the Sprewell Feed My Family Platter ($14.95). The $12.95 hot wing challenge doesn't come with any fancy language, just a waiver.

1: In keeping with the Prohibition theme, there's a secret passageway. It leads to a secluded bar. To find it, you'll want to look for the last thing you'd expect in a party bar: a bookcase.

Follow Horgen on twitter: @tomhorgen

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