Teal glow The club: Martini's, 1313 Nicollet Mall, 359-2260
The concept: Martinis (although they serve wine, beer and mixed drinks, too)
Scenery: The bar is located right in the lobby of the Millennium Hotel. It's hard to tell exactly where the lobby ends and the lounge starts because there are no walls and no signs; however, Martini's distinguishing feature is the teal glow from an illuminated acrylic bar. The corner walls are padded squares covered in gold fabric. There is plentiful seating at several couches or around the bar. Geometric lights hover and their soft light matches the bar's glow.
The crowd: Sparse. People sat around the bar. Except for the conversation between my friend and me, nobody was talking unless it was to order a drink.
Entertainment: a CD player initially tuned to Chris Isaak, then a TV tuned to sports. Thursday nights there's a jazz band 5-7 p.m.
Drinks: There's a full bar, but of course we drank martinis all night. A short list of their popular martinis sits on the bar and we went for the fruity, summery options. I started with a Beach Towel: vodka, pineapple juice and Malibu ($10). It was sweet and too easy to drink. My friend tried the Deep Blue Sea, a concoction of Blue Curacao, Cointreau and fruit juice ($10). After the Beach Towel, I tried Martini's Cosmo ($10). Nothing spectacular, but good.
Martinis are served in a glass that's the top half of a normal martini glass with no base, so it sits in a little fish bowl of ice water. I like that my drink was cold to the last sip, but the glass seemed smaller than a regular martini glass.
Food: The bar menu featured appetizers, salads and hot sandwiches, but if that's not enough you can order food from the hotel's restaurant. We started with an order of Olivenos, giant green and black olives bathed in asiago cheese and then deep-fried ($8). Absolutely delicious! Then I got a steak sandwich ($10). It was served open-faced and covered with Swiss cheese, sauted mushrooms and onions. The steak was good, but the mushrooms made the sandwich. My friend's Reuben ($9) was tasty. The bread was thin, but it managed to hold the sandwich together.
Servers and attitude: Friendly. Three bartenders were working and they were all attentive.
Logistics: There's a ramp attached to the hotel, so parking was easy, but expensive. $6.50 for three hours, and it goes up from there. Monday-Wednesday and Friday there's a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. which features tap beer for $2.10, well drinks for $2.50 and a complimentary appetizer buffet.
The verdict: The food was better than most bars (definitely try the Olivenos!) and I loved the elegant atmosphere. Our martinis were good and the unique glass they were served in was the best thing I've seen, but the lack of people and the high drink prices were a huge drawback. I might go back for happy hour or to catch the Thursday night jazz.