Cocktail Showdown

​2017 Cocktail Showdown: Round One

November 2nd, 2017

Our annual search for the best that the local cocktail scene has to offer is once again underway, and it is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. This year brings a lineup of contestants that is split between seasoned veterans and relative newcomers, and a list of venues that features some of our tried and true favorites plus several establishments that are brand new to the showdown.

Our first order of business this year was a visit to what some would call a downtown institution.…

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​The Results Are In!: HPR Announces Winners in Annual Cocktail Showdown

January 20th, 2017

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung were presented the opportunity to try some of the finest cocktails in town crafted by some of the finest mixologists in the area. Participants were judged on a one to five scale on creativity, presentation, and flavor.

Best Overall: Elijah Larson of Proof Artisan…

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​Cocktail Showdown : Week seven

December 22nd, 2016

For our seventh and final week of the Cocktail Showdown, we headed back to Rustica at 315 Main Avenue in Moorhead, but this time sat down in the Tavern side of the building.

Chalkboard menus hang on exposed brick walls and copper tap handles catch the eye and enhance the rustic, comfortable feel. The wood fired pizza oven tucked away in the corner is often a very active area of the room, cranking out delicious and creative pizzas, especially during their happy hours of 5-6 and 9-11,…

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​Cocktail Showdown : Week 6

December 22nd, 2016

Fargo Billiards and Gastropub

At 28,500 square feet and on the corner of 32nd Avenue and 43rd street south, Billiards is home to the largest billiard parlor in the country, features seven- and nine-foot tables, a great outdoor patio with full bar and sand volleyball courts, and so much more. Several private party rooms are available for rental, original artwork by Kim Bromley is displayed throughout the building, there are two all-ages spaces for dining and pool and their Monday through…

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​Cocktail Showdown : Week 5

December 7th, 2016

Adam Nehk of Barbacoa

Barbacoa

Located on the corner of 32nd avenue and 42nd street in South Fargo, Barbacoa has been “bringing the flavors of the south a bit further north” since they opened in October of 2015. Featuring a menu of south-of-the-border flavors, with a focus on barbeque, their taco options have quickly become the talk of the town.

The bartop alone is worth a visit to the lounge area of the restaurant. American pennies serve as a backdrop for designs created by various coins from several…

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​Cocktail Showdown : Week Four

December 3rd, 2016

By Chris Larsoncjlarson75@gmail.com

For Week Four of our 2016 Cocktail Showdown, we visited two of the higher volume bars in town. With expectations of large servings of strong concoctions, we sat down with Alison and Dylan at Dempsey’s Public House before ending our evening with Steph and Heather at The Empire Tavern. Whether in the order we chose, in reverse order, or with stops before or in between, these two establishments are staples of the Downtown Fargo scene and while neither…

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​Cocktail Showdown: week three

November 22nd, 2016

By Chris Larson

cjlarson75@gmail.com

Rustica Eatery and Tavern

As the name suggests, Rustica is all about delivering a plain, simple and somewhat rural atmosphere. While the menu delivers elevated comfort foods with creative twists and pleasant surprises, the vibe throughout the room is anything but pretentious. It’s the rare kind of place you could either experience a nice evening out with that special someone, or sit down with a friend and converse over a pint, cocktail, or glass of…

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​Cocktail Showdown week two

November 16th, 2016

By Chris Larson Cjlarson75@gmail.com

Proof Artisan Distillers

Located at 414 4th Avenue North in Downtown Fargo, Proof is a distillery that also houses both a tasting room and a restaurant that serves small plates as well as entrees. The tasting room and restaurant hours are Thursday 4pm to 10pm and 4pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The room features an ambiance unlike anything else in town with its windows looking in on the beautiful copper still and an impressive reclaimed bar…

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​Round one of the 2016 cocktail showdown

November 9th, 2016

By Chris Larson

Cjlarson75@gmail.com

It’s once again time for the annual Cocktail Showdown in which our three judges experience and then highlight the best libation creations offered by a variety of local participants. Ranging from local tavern to fine cocktail bars, the showdown will bring our judges all across the metro area to sit down with some of the most creative cocktail minds in town and be served up two entries from each location.

Each week we will visit and rate two creations…

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​Toast of the Town

March 3rd, 2016

photos by Kensie Wallner

Last Sunday the Crystal Ballroom was transformed into a little slice of sin city, representing class, sass, and everything in between for the third annual Bartender’s Ball. Attendees were spotted donning their finest evening garb, leisure suits and tuxes along with a few patrons channeling the late great Hunter S. Thompson. Ladies rocked sky high heels, high hemlines, chic cocktail dresses, glitter, and evening gowns.

Blue Belle’s Burlesque greeted patrons in little more than smiles…

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