The four-story building at the corner of North 1st Street and North 1st Avenue in the North Loop houses not only the best sushi restaurant in the Twin Cities (Kado No Mise) but a fine Japanese whisky bar. Gori Gori Peku is tucked discreetly onto the second floor, across from Kado No Mise sister restaurant Kaiseki Furukawa. The darkly lit, jazz-soundtracked space is as handsome and brooding as you’d expect from a bar with a mood wall displaying rare Nikka, Mars, and Suntory bottles.
Opened in fall of 2017 by co-owners John Gross and Chef Shigeyuki Furukawa, the bar specializes in hard-to-find Japanese hooch, including the Yamazaki, an 18-year-old single malt from Suntory that earned five double gold medals at San Francisco’s World Spirits Competition. It retails for $1,055 a bottle online but here you can sample it for $88.
One-and-a-half-ounce pours of Suntory’s Toki blend (“the ideal base for a refreshing Japanese highball”) and Mars Iwai, which “develops [its] exceptional smoothness from granite-filtered snowmelt,” start at $9 each; higher-end offerings can balloon into the low six figures. For non-whisky drinkers, other spirits and cocktails are available, along with sake sold by the glass, carafe, or bottle.
Gori Gori Peku is open Monday through Saturday from 5 p.m. onward. The vibe is intimate (just eight bar stools and a lounge area), but walk-in customers are welcome. We recommend stopping by before or after a seasonal kaiseki dinner next door or omakase feast downstairs — the perfect date night combination. 👍🎌🥃
Gori Gori Peku
33 N. 1st Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-338-1515.