The favorite drink of Russia is in the spotlight along with the athletes during the Olympic Games in Sochi. With a nod to that, USA Today compiled a list of the best places where Americans can go for the drink, naming the nation's top ten vodka bars.
The story selected St. Petersburg Restaurant and Vodka Bar in Robbinsdale (3610 France Ave. North) in its list of the best. The article said that the Minnesota bar "...offers Russian hospitality, an extensive selection of Russian vodka and a wide array of traditional dishes to nibble while sipping the smooth libations. With 100 different vodkas and chilled flight combinations, guests can discover for themselves which Russian region has the most interesting tastes and intriguing flavors."
The story added that the Robbinsdale spot offers live music, happy hour specials and banquet facilities. The only other Midwestern vodka bar included on USA Today's top ten list is Sub Zero Vodka Bar in St. Louis, Mo.
The article quoted Louis Aceves, General Manager of Las Vegas-based Red Square, who noted a difference between the way Russians and Americans knock back the distilled, smooth, grain-neutral beverage. He said that Russians drink vodka straight, cold and not shaken or mixed.
"For Russians, it is culturally acceptable to drink vodka every day, while Americans view it as more of a social activity and typically indulge in Vodka for special occasions and in the evening while hanging out with friends," he said.
On the Today Show, NBC's Lester Holt, who admits he’s not much of a vodka drinker, swallowed down six different vodkas over the course of an hour to learn more about the Russian favorite. "Very manly. A little burn in the throat ... it's like my insides are on fire,” he said after trying the Siberian Husky Vodka, the strongest of the bunch.
Last month, City Pages reviewed Hammer & Sickle, a new Russian vodka bar and restaurant in Uptown in Minneapolis. It features Eastern European cuisine along with its selection of vodka.