Leslie Bock's five favorite bars
In Leslie Bock's world, zombies and tiki gods are good for business. But when she's off the clock, the owner of Psycho Suzi's and Donnie Dirk's Zombie Den can't get enough of the Twin Cities' old-school haunts. "My favorite places to go for a drink have virtually nothing to do with the actual drink," Bock said. "I go for the feeling." Here, Bock takes us on a tour through the nostalgic side of nightlife.
"My absolute favorite. It's like a 1970s porn movie or maybe a scene out of 'Scarface.' You feel sleazy and sexy and naughty. It's the perfect place to commit adultery or plan a crime -- or have a clambake. It's out-of-control Mafioso with on-the-rocks classic drinks and lots of meat, meat and more meat. If Mancini's closes or remodels, I will be forced to stab myself in the heart."
- She's drinking: "I always get a creamy drink, like a white Russian with filberts."
"An idyllic little wonderland for a drink. I suck down ice-cream drinks and daydream about living in '50s utopia. The experience makes you feel the world is full of possibilities, like a great first date. The little garden -- with its plants and flowers, a trout stream, twinkly lights, a turning water wheel -- is about as wholesome and sweet as it comes."
- She's drinking: "Their brandy Alexanders, grasshoppers and pink squirrels are a little package of happiness on a summer evening."
"Jimmy's is perfectly crappy and cozy in every way a good dive bar should be. Extra cheap, no frills, cocktail wieners and not a lick of pretense. A delicious beef stick in hand and a gin-and-tonic at 8 a.m., and you're set for the day. Lounge on appropriately torn furniture, fritter $20 away on pulltabs or gaze at the paneling. There is so much to do! Nobody cares what you do or how much you drink. It's a judgment-free safe zone to start your drinking problem and nurse it along -- forever."
- She's drinking: "I usually order Stroh's, because that's pretty much all they have on tap."
"It's real life in the northern suburbs. Karaoke and 20-piece big bands, trashy love affairs, alcoholic grandparents and small-town boys looking for small-town girls with perky little boobies. I can't fully comprehend whether it's ironic or that it feels like a hopeful place, where customers seem to enjoy their life just as it is. Discussions vary from who's got a sale on Mich Golden Light to Sandy's husband refusing to go to church anymore. Shorewood is a random pick because it offers no extremes -- it just 'is.' "
- She's drinking: "I drink the house pinot grigio and eavesdrop on a regular life that seems to perpetually pass me by."
"This is an amusement park of gaiety and over-the-top commotion. Room after room of various themed shenanigans. You don't ever have to leave to get a new and vastly different experience. It's also home to some mind-expanding stories and tales, especially outside the ladies' restroom. Back in the day, I used to dance myself into a tizzy, but as the years passed I preferred to watch the drag show or just observe the joy and pain of gay love and life. It's one of the few places you can feel completely free from conformity and convention."
- She's drinking: "Any sort of stiff fruity drink or whiskey seems appropriate. However, I stick with my wine."
- Tom Horgen