Each Tuesday evening, in the heart of Minneapolis’ Seward neighborhood, the folks at Lawless Distilling carouse in a manner unrivaled in the Cities.
The theme? Well, that changes each week. The linchpins? Those are threefold: top-tier cocktails born of Bittercube’s best brains, Mucci’s frozen pizza to nosh on, and a madcap atmosphere that chameleons to fit that week’s guest bartender.
Take this Tuesday, for example. Behind the bar was Super Thunderfrog, easily distinguished from the regular staff by his luchador frog mask, spandex, and Zubaz overalls. Some attendees came specifically for the pleasure of meeting Mr. Thunderfrog, given the high profile he commands among local wrestling aficionados.
Between slinging drinks designed to fit Mr. Thunderfrog’s legend (ex: "Froggy Splash!"—a concoction of green rum, Heirloom liqueur pineapple amaro, Bittercube blackstrap bitters, and mint served in a custom soda bottle, with an extra long bendy straw), the man of the hour thumb-wrestled guests in a palm-sized ring, as old YouTube videos of wrestling video games were projected onto the wall.
City Pages reached out to Louie LaFleur, Bittercube consultant and Lawless bar manager, to peel back the veil on how such a series of shenanigans—in a warehouse off the beaten path, on a Tuesday—came into being, and how they've sustained it.
City Pages: What’s the official name of Pizza Tuesday?
Louie LaFleur: Mucci's Frozen Foods presents: Lawless Distilling Company's Pizza Night! A Community Guest Bartending Series 2019 (DBA: Pizza Night) (DBA: M.F.F.P.L.D.C.P.N. 2019)
CP: Whose idea was Pizza Night, and can you tell us a little bit about how that came about?
LL: Pizza Night was created by Louie LaFleur (a.k.a. Tony Pepperoni) and Nick Kosevich (a.k.a Ranch Garvey). After the new year, Lawless went from only being open five days a week to being open every day, and we wanted something to entice guests into the cocktail room on a Tuesday evening.
On top of that, we knew it would also be a great night for a guest bartender series, but because there are so many talented bartenders in town behind their respective bars, we thought this series could be an exciting opportunity for artists, writers, chefs, musicians, and of course wrestlers to promote whatever is going on in their lives and get to serve food and drink to the people they love.
CP: Any particular reason why y’all settled on Mucci’s frozen pizza (not Tombstone, Heggie’s, etc.)?
LL: Everyone should eat Mucci's Pizza on Tuesdays regardless of location. I mean, you can feel the pizza spirits in the air from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. simply based on the concentration of Pizza Lovers, which is the most enticing part of M.F.F.P.L.D.C.P.N.A.C.G.B.S 2019 Also, [Nick] had the life-changing opportunity to open Town Talk Diner with Mr. Niver and learned so much from him that [he] vowed to one day repay him with frozen pizza purchases.
CP: Who are the next couple rotating bartenders you have scheduled in the lineup? Should folks expect space-frog luchadors every time?
LL: Some of the upcoming guests include Caitlin Karolczak (local artist), Kate Meier (MN Craft Aprons), Nick Costa (musician), Rob Morgan (musician, podcaster), Thomas Boehmer (chef, luthier), and Justin Sutherland (Handsome Hog, Top Chef).
CP: Are you accepting applications for oddball guest bartenders at this time, or should those with hopes and dreams of helming a Pizza Night wait with bated breath until Lawless reaches out first?
LL: All interested parties should direct their guest bartending requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips to getting a guest shift at Lawless:
- Does your special creative talent involve a costume? (Think: Super ThunderFrog)
- Does your showcaseable outlet involve something our guests can see, hear, or feel?
- Does your craft and/or art involve Ranch Dressing?
And even if you meet the criteria above? Be ready to wait. LaFleur noted that guest bartending spots are already booked through September, so Tuesday’s Pizza Night mayhem shows no sign of stopping anytime soon.