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My quest for cocktails continues with a somewhat new lounge in Superior. Those familiar with Superior have probably at least heard of the Androy Hotel and might be aware of the bar that existed adjacent to the lobby. The old bar was a typical dive that one might expect on Tower Ave. It wasn’t quite as rough as a bar like Mama’s, but the atmosphere was a little lacking by most standards. While I feel just fine with dark and spooky dives that somehow stay open because of regulars, I could see how someone from out of town could have walked in, looked around, and left for a place a little more inviting. Enter the new Steel Toe Pub. The location has been completely renovated and I’ll say it was a change for the better. It’s pretty nice with area relevant paintings on the walls, there are good places to sit for privacy or an individual can chill at the new wrap around bar. As far as this column is concerned, it has moved from being just a “whiskey and beer” bar, to a respectable lounge with some decent cocktails. It should also be noted that they have live music on most Thursdays. This marks a small resurgence of live music in Superior, although it’s not much compared to when Norm’s and Bev’s would host more than just acoustic music or bands that can keep the noise level down.
Featured Bartender: Shaun Hansen has been bartending for nearly two years. He has been with Steel Toe since August and has past experience with The Rex in the Fitger’s complex as a bartender and bouncer.
Interests and Activities: Hansen is one of those bartenders who loves what they do and he prefers the ability to make finer drinks at the Steel Toe over slinging drinks out at The Rex. He also likes to mountain bike during the warmer months up here.
Favorite Music: Hansen has a wide range of music likes. He admitted that Lincoln Park is a favorite, but also likes local bands such as Honest Maude and Big Wave Dave and The Ripples, a long time regular band to play at The Rex.
Featured Cocktail: The Gimlet. This cocktail is a classic that I’m definitely aware of, but haven’t really ordered it because it tends to be pretty heavy on the gin. There are a variety of ways to make this cocktail, but Hansen makes it one of the more ideal ways. He squeezes a half a lime into a shaker, adds a bit of simple syrup and the rest is the organic Minnesota made Prairie gin. It is shook up with ice to chill it down, strained a bit and served in a martini glass with a lime slice garnish. There are ways to cheat making a Gimlet; Rose’s lime juice and a lemon-lime soda such as Sprite could be substituted for a sloppy version.
How is it?: I’ll say the choice of Prairie gin is really what drives this version of the Gimlet because it doesn’t have a strong pine taste compared to some gins. Using something like Vikre’s more pine flavored gins might override the intended taste of this drink. As one might imagine, the simple syrup and fresh squeezed lime are the primary factors that shine with this cocktail. This masks the actual amount of booze in the drink and what makes it a little dangerous as in how easy these might be to take down. So while these are tasty and refreshing, they could have a kick after a couple of them.