Can Can Wonderland
Maybe we just mini-golf our way into 2017, yeah? Who's with me?
I have a way: Can Can Wonderland.
A collective of super smart, cheeky brilliant artists (founders Christi Atkinson, Rob Clapp, Chris Pennington, and Jennifer Pennington are largely responsible for cool things like the Walker's mini-golf, Soap Factory's Haunted Basement, and the Ten Second Film Festival) have taken over a warehouse space in St. Paul's Hamline Midway neighborhood and are transforming it into an art-driven indoor mini-golf spectacular spectacular!
But besides 18 awesomely themed holes of golf (#4 Squirrel Scrambler, #10 Hot Tub Time Machine, #15 Gramma's Living Room) this 45,000 sq. ft. venue will have a few stages, a boardwalk, and a few bars and concession stands.
Now who would we get to make appropriate drinks for this insane-in-the-membrane staycation spot?
Oh yeah, Bittercube. Nick Kosevich, Ira Koplowitz, and Marco Zappia have been working with the founders to create some wickedly wild drinks. "I've always wanted to be a carny," Kosevich told me. "I feel like working with these guys I get a chance for that, at being a Ringmaster. These guys are so excited and have so much energy, it just fuels the creativity. I want their vision of this space to really be represented on the cocktail menu."
The creativity is off the charts. Besides craft cocktails, the main bar will be sporting a conceptual thematic menu of about 6-8 drinks that will likely blow your mind. The Happy Birthday!!!!! drink will combine "a proprietary signature birthday cake vodka blend" with egg whites, cream cheese frosting syrup, and birthday cake extract—plus it will arrive with sprinkles, sparklers, poppers, and song! "It's sounds insane, and it kinda is, but it's also really very delicious," Kosevich promised. There's also Beach Life, pictured below, with a tequila cocktail floating on coconut water, by edible cinnamon sand, with a tiny bucket of Fernet. "The idea is you take the coconut water and mix it with the sand!" Interactivity is going to be big with these drinks—Salad Days is basically an Ambrosia salad you eat, with Jello shots mixed in. The High Bishop, (whose botanicals include hemp seed, holy basil, frankincense, and myrrh) will have you cupping a bamboo bowl while the drink is administered to you in a very sacramental way. You'll also have boozy slushies like Boone & Crocket, which is a rotating Boone's Farm blend, and lots of fun tapped cocktails as well, such as the The Hype Man, which is vodka mixed with Can Can Wonderland Fizzy Lifting Energy Drink. And that's only the first bar.
Beach Life drink - Can Can Wonderland
The second bar will be known as the Wee Bar, and there you will find soda fountain treats. House made sodas such as Root Beer, Ginger Yip, and Orange Dream are N/A, but can have booze added to them. And soft serve. Kosevich is also bringing back the boozy malts like Totally Bananas with bourbon, chocolate, peanut butter, and banana; or the Gettin Figgy Wid It, made with rum, graham crackers, and fig jam. Not done yet: there will be N/A Sno-Cones and boozy Sno-Plowed-Cones! Think an icy Dark & Stormy or a Rickey with Sapphire gin, tart cherry syrup, and lime. You'll be able to get regular drinks as well, but be aware that the spirit menu will focus on over-proofed spirits, clocking in at 100 proof or more. And there are a few more ideas burbbling that are still being worked on. Is anyone else feeling like the bar team should be wearing Wonka-purple coats?
Nosh will be needed. There won't be a restaurant, per se, but "elevated concessions" will be available for purchase. Pat Webber and Scott Pampuch of Mise en Place consulting are working on the menu, and their guiding principle is: Caddy Shack Meets Coney Island.
One big chunk of the food menu will feature six hot dogs. "We'll stay true to a solid Chicago Dog and put up a real Coney, but we've also got a Banh Mi Dog and a veggie dog, along with other ideas," Pampuch said, "like the Aloha Mr. Hand, which is made with SPAM, yum-yum sauce, and pineapple-scallion relish on a King's Hawaiian bun." The other big chunk will offer toasties—"cheese factors huge in this place." Look for sassy grilled cheese toasties that come with more SPAM, or smoked turkey and taleggio, smoked brisket with bacon and blue cheese, or even just cheese. Also: Heggies.
Bahn Mi dog and toastie - Can Can Wonderland
Banh Mi Dog | Toastie
They're also plotting some salads, vegetarian plates, nachos, plus more rollicking treats like mini-donut boats topped with crazy toppings, and cotton-candy-wrapped bacon on a stick. Their biggest challenge is that there's no hood or conventional six-burner in the kitchen, it's mostly electric. "It's a fun challenge, it forces you to be more creative. My U of M stadium concessions days are really paying off," noted Pampuch.
All of this crazy-mayhem-good-times will be available for you some time in January, exactly right when we need them. Go check out the Can Can Wonderland FB page for updates and view on the golf holes.