This is the last weekend Dan Oskey will be bartending at Hola Arepa, so get in there and have one of the best bartenders in town make you a drink. Unless you can wait. Because Oskey is leaving the Hola bar he helped build to do something a little bit bigger.
Oskey and partner Jon Kreidler have begun construction on a space in Nordeast, Minneapolis and hope to open Tattersall Distilling by early summer. Seriously, we might have to rename the Brew District. The distillery is just off of Central Avenue in the Thorp building, tucked way behind Diamonds Coffee Shop along the tracks. It sits across the way from Bauhaus Brew Labs, down the block from 612 Brew, and from the planned patio, you could hit Indeed Brewing if you had a really sick trebuchet. The space is rather raw, and they're keeping much of it the way it is, but adding even more windows and a glass wall in front of the stills, polishing the patio, and hanging some sweet chandeliers they just found.
Will there be a cocktail room?
Jon Kreidler and Dan Oskey standing about where the stills will sit.
Duh. “Actually, we’ve built the entire model of this distillery around the cocktail room,” Kreidler said. “When the distilling boom started, you couldn’t sample or really hang out, but last summer changed all that. The new law allowing sampling is a game-changer, we based our size, the location, and the team on making this a great cocktail destination.”
Because Oskey’s no slouch. He’s been in the bar game for years, helping to create the bar program at The Strip Club, before moving to Hola and showing us all the speed and delicious efficiency of bottled cocktails. Along the way, no big deal, he also had a hand in creating the Joia Soda line, launched a bitters-making kit under the Easy & Oskey brand, and volunteered on a farm so he could learn how to grow things. Sleep? What sleep?
So, let me bring this home: This will be a distillery and bar created and owned by a bartender. It’s kind of like if Augustus Gloop had won the chocolate factory. What I mean is that Tattersall won’t just be a place where you can sample a gin and tonic or Moscow Mule. There will be some next level stuff coming out of here. “Years ago at Strip Club, we started making our own bitters, then we made grenadine and tonics, and started using all sorts of homemade flavoring agents. So we’ve done all that, and really, making booze is kind of the last frontier for me,” Oskey said. “I’m excited by the spirits we have planned, and the ways we want to go about making them. Really, we’re going to try to bring some things that no one else is doing, using traditional methods with innovative techniques.”
Right? Leave it to a bartender: he gets to make the kinds of booze he wants, for the kinds of drinks he wants to serve. The cocktail room at Tattersall will be a lab, not everything that is created there will go to bottling, some things will just be experiments for the bar. Of course you’ll be able to count on gin and vodka to start, and they are committed to letting the browns really and truly barrel age for the right amount of time, which isn't soon. But Oskey noted, “I want this to be a full bar. And that means that I want other bottles around me so that I can make the best drinks.” Current law states that distillery cocktail rooms are not allowed to bring in any other alcoholic beverages made off-site. “That’s why we’re also going to be developing support spirits as well.”
Like . . . Fernet or Chartreuse? He was cagey about this. But they did admit to working on a recipe for their own Amaro and some “forgotten liqueurs,” so Fernet can’t be too far behind. “If we did a Chartreuse, it would have to be a local version made from foraged and farmed stuff. Eventually it would be cool to have a greenhouse out back where we could grow wormwood for blossom . . . but that’s down the line.” They have applied for a winery license too, so they can make vermouth.
Tattersall is the name for a kind of plaid (like Madras), which incorporates two bold, crossing colors. Oskey and Kreidler think of it as the mixing of their strengths: hospitality and business. Having known each other since 2nd grade, the two have teamed up with many old school chums (which includes Kreidler’s wife Michelle) to partner in the project, from photographers to designers.
The future cocktail room.
They hope to get shiny stills and equipment by March. The cocktail room will be open Wednesday through Saturday. The duo described the place as, “sophisticated, but accessible and comfortable. We’re not snobs, we’re just all about making the perfect martini for you.” Yes, please.