Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

April 10th, 2019

Design by Raul Gomez

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in!

For nine weeks, three judges were presented with a shot or after-dinner drink (depending on the establishment) and a drink at each stop of the showdown. Bartenders at participating establishments were judged on presentation, flavor, and creativity, in two different bar…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week Nine

March 27th, 2019

Minnesota Spice - photograph by Chris Larson

On our ninth week of the Cocktail Showdown, we made just a single stop that showcased one of the most well known restaurants in North Dakota, The Toasted Frog. While they had been locally and regionally celebrated for their restaurants in Fargo, Grand Forks, and Bismarck, the downtown Fargo location of The Toasted Frog and the franchise, in general, was recently given some big-time TV attention from both the Travel Channel and The Food Network. The latter focused primarily on the…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week 8

March 20th, 2019

Koko B. Ware - photograph by Raul Gomez

The eighth week of this year’s HPR Cocktail Showdown was another tripleheader for our panel of judges. On this particular week, we found ourselves focused on a trio of downtown dining and entertainment establishments to visit some new competitors as well as experience the return of a couple of seasoned veterans. We first made a return to the Sanctuary Events Center to visit Aaron Duma and spend some time in the coolest “church basement” in town while drinking a couple of entries…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week 7

March 13th, 2019

Whiskey Splash - photograph by Raul Gomez

It sure seems like almost every week we go out for the Cocktail Showdown, we are faced with winter weather that threatens to derail our plans. This was one of the first Wednesdays of the year that found us enjoying a fairly mild winter walk to one of the more established downtown drinking spots, Rooter’s, where Leo Gonzalez mixed us up a couple of drinks that featured Jameson and will probably sell like mad after the St. Patrick’s Day downtown parade. We then hoofed it down the…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week 6

March 6th, 2019

Golden Tom and Jerry - photograph by Sabrina Hornung

Our sixth week of the Cocktail Showdown was another tripleheader that had us hotel hopping before ending the night on the western edge of Fargo, in the vicinity of the mall. When we go out and do the judging for this competition, I always like to imagine for a moment that I am a visitor to our town and view the experience through the eyes of someone who doesn’t have an insiders look at the industry. Hotel hopping and seeking out hotspots located near the mall makes it quite easy to…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week 5

February 27th, 2019

The FM Empress - photograph by Raul Gomez

For the fifth week of the cocktail showdown, we packed three establishments into one night so let’s get right into it with our first stop which was not only a first-time entry into the competition but also a brand new business. Opened in late October, 46 North Pints and Provisions is the newest addition to the downtown dining scene and brings a slightly elevated gastropub model to the corner to the east of the post office. The space is wide open and warm with a touch of sleek chic…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week four

February 20th, 2019

Warm Weather by Adam Nehk - photograph by Sabrina Hornung

Chef’s Table Catering recently converted the building that formerly housed the restaurant Barbacoa into a private dining and event space. Located just south of 32nd Avenue off 42nd street, they have kept all of the great lighting fixtures and features but opened the space up into one large dining room that can seat up to 125 and is worth consideration for your next special event. Adam Nehk is their Bar Catering Manager & Event Coordinator/Mixologist and he explained that they have…

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​Cocktail Showdown Week Three

February 13th, 2019

Hot buttered rum - photograph by Raul Gomez

After a day of checking the weather updates and keeping an eye on any closing announcements from this week’s entrants, our judges ordered up a ride share service and headed out to the western side of town for two stops in West Fargo. The fact that these establishments are located directly across the street from each other made it seem like such an easy trek between the two but the piles of snow covering every sidewalk corner made the short walk across 9th street east in West Fargo a…

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​Cocktail Showdown: Week 2

February 6th, 2019

The Karlsilege

For our second week of the Cocktail Showdown, it was an abbreviated one due to the bitter cold weather closing down several of the establishments throughout downtown, including the ones we were set to visit. Thankfully, Andrew Hardy was excited enough about his competition entry to come in on a night off and treat us to a makeup Monday at the Sidestreet Grille and Pub, on 4th and 4th in downtown Fargo.

The Sidestreet is one of those hangouts that seems to have it all. One of the most…

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​2019 Cocktail Showdown is underway

January 31st, 2019

HPR's Cocktail Showdown begins - photograph by Raul Gomez

It’s always good to be missed and I’ve heard the same phrase, or a variation of it, from many readers over the last month or so….”when are you (HPR judges) starting the Cocktail Showdown?” While this year’s edition of the High Plains Reader’s Cocktail Showdown has begun a bit later than previous years, on behalf of my fellow judges and the fine participating establishments scattered throughout Fargo/Moorhead, I proudly present to you the first week of the 2019 edition of the…

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