When a hotel lobby feels like a welcoming social club, it’s clear that the owners are doing something right.
Such is the case with the new Hewing Hotel.
Located in the Jackson Building in Minneapolis’ North Loop (which once housed the Institute for Production and Recording), the lobby is an entrance into a grand, rustic space where no two rooms are alike. More importantly, for those already frequenting the neighborhood, drinking and dining are the establishment’s forte, not an afterthought like in so many hotels.
The Hewing is the latest offering from Aparium Hotel Group, who -- with the help of interior designers Elness Swenson Graham Architects -- know a thing or two about designing places that stay true to a local sense of culture and heritage.
Look up at the ceiling at the silver and purple art installation by local studio Foci Glass which pays homage to Prince. Urban legend has it that he once had a studio in the building’s basement, and it’s confirmed that the Replacements used it as their practice space once upon a time. The warm Northern design language and Nordic sensibility of the Hewing make it a prime hangout for locals and travelers alike.
The Jackson Building was constructed in 1897 and the original brick walls remain intact. The floors have been replaced, but the old wood slats found their way into the tables at Tullibee, the in-house restaurant.
Tullibee is the modern North Loop clubhouse we’ve longed for for years. Sure, there’s no shortage of neighborhood fine dining with Spoon & Stable and the Bachelor Farmer, and the Monte Carlo meeting all of our old-school needs. However, it’s nice to have a place to slip in at on a Tuesday night and grab a casual, well-crafted cocktail, or hit for a leisurely Saturday night dinner complete with fresh baked bread and meat butchered in-house.
Chef Grae Nonas (a Food & Wine 2015 “Best New Chef”) and his team (many of whom migrated with him from his award-winning Olamaie in Austin, Texas) work wonders with the open kitchen, and the food draws upon Nordic influences. Case in point: Lefse makes an appearance on the menu. Nowhere else would such a move pass muster, but at Tullibee, it seems downright innovative.
With such an emphasis on local flavor, it’s no surprise that the Hewing has already become a hangout for both city dwellers and travelers alike, much like the Ace Hotel in Portland or the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Other hotels in Minneapolis don’t create this environment, but between Tullibee and the hotel’s upcoming Rooftop Social Club (where members get special daytime access to the top floor lounge and pool, and which will host a variety of classes), the Hewing is primed for neighborhood institution status.
Local goods and curios from MartinPatrick3 are advertised in the lobby and encourage visitors to get out and explore the neighborhood. They’re nestled against odds and ends found at antique stores and estate sales, repurposed and given a second life in the hotel’s cozy foyer. Bottles from local distilleries and snacks from Minnesota food artisans make their way into the minibars of guest rooms, and blankets from Faribault Woolen Mills cover the fine bedspreads, a comforting touch on a cold winter’s night.
In the past several weeks, the Hewing has hosted a series of events and pop-ups, including a collaboration between St. Paul style stalwarts BlackBlue and Lanona Shoe Company last weekend. The local boots, chunky sweaters and raw denim felt at home in the hotel’s lobby, and one could conceivably create a look there and then and stroll to the restaurant afterward for a few cocktails and heartwarming Nordic fare while decked out in their new duds.
Up until this point, the Minneapolis hotel scene has not produced any hangouts popular with city dwellers. The Le Meridien Chambers is the closest thing, but it lacks an identity that screams Minnesota.
Thanks to the Hewing Hotel -- and recently launched The Inn at Alma -- Minneapolis’ boutique hotel boom is in full swing. Like in larger, more cosmopolitan cities, going to a hotel for fun will become de rigueur rather than de trop, representative of the cities’ trends and sensibilities. Welcome to Minneapolis, Hewing. We hope you enjoy your stay.