With an astonishing 800-plus bottles of liquor accumulated, Windsor Block Bar specializes in creating and serving craft cocktails using high-end spirits.
Located in the Windsor Block building in downtown Rapid City built in the 1800s, owner Justin Henrichsen says his bar is rooted in history.
Acquiring its name from the historic building, Windsor Block Bar follows tradition rather than trends.
“A lot of people think we named it after the cheap Canadian whiskey; We did not,” explained Henrichsen. “We love to build tradition, not trends, so everything we build looks like a churched-up version of what a bar may have looked like in the 1800s.”
Much like his other business ventures with Spearfish Public House and Independent Ale House in Rapid City and Monks Ale House in Sioux Falls, Henrichsen adds that he and his partners enjoy operating in old buildings rich in history and character.
“I don’t think any of our concepts would ever work in a new building or a strip mall. It’s just not our style,” he said.
As soon as customers enter the bar, Henrichsen says he wants them to feel like they’re “wrapped in a warm hug”. How does he accomplish this? Through the use of lighting.
“A lot of it comes to lighting choices, fit, finish, and going the extra mile,” explained Henrichsen.
One unique feature of the whiskey bar is its use of 14-foot liquor-filled shelves for a warm ambiance.
Rooted in History
The Windsor Block Building has been home to various businesses, including:
• A department store
• A mercantile
• A music store
• A sewing center
“The way we lit all of our bottles on the back bar is that it shines through the liquor,” said Henrichsen. “That really gives that whiskey the glow of amber.”
Accented with dark oak finishes, brick walls, and whiskey barrel tables surrounded by golden lighting, customers shouldn’t expect to walk into a bar, but a den. Henrichsen accredits this aesthetic and ambiance to his wife, Jeane.
Windsor Block Bar is known for creating unique versions of classic cocktails, while making new favorites, leaving cocktail enthusiasts coming back for more. The extensive wine list and spirits selection make it easy for customers to find their favorite beverages.
“We are heavy into bourbon, scotch, and whiskey, but we cover everything now from tequila and rum to gin,” said Henrichsen.
More on the Menu
» WHISKEY SOUR
Mellow Corn Whiskey, demerara, lemon juice, egg whites, and bitters.
» ESPRESSO MARTINI
Wheatley Vodka, orgeat, Borghetti Espresso Liqueur, and egg white.
» BEE’S KNEES
Fords Gin, honey, and lemon juice.
» MAI TAI
Havana Club Anejo Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, demerara, lemon juice, and egg white.
» COFFEE OLD FASHIONED
Oak & Eden Bourbon & Brew, Licor 43, and cocoa bitters.
» NUTS & BERRIES
Chambord, Frangelico, and half and half.
All available spirits can be ordered by preference of neat, on the rocks, or substituted into any cocktail on the menu.
Sit down and enjoy an abundance of classic craft cocktails, such as a Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Manhattan, or Old Fashioned. Or switch it up with Windsor Block Bar’s seasonal cocktails, like the Moletto Tomatoless Bloody Mary, Orange Cinnamon Margarita, or the Gimme Some Lovin’. The latter is an old fashioned with Early Times Bottled in Bond, demerara, chocolate, and cherry bitters.
“With our seasonal drinks, we always have stuff that is off the menu that our bartenders are constantly working on and tweaking with. Our menu is pretty much ever-changing,” explained Henrichsen.
“the creative process behind all of our cocktails is constantly being innovative.” – Justin Henrichsen
Head mixologist Mark Tucker and his bartenders are no strangers to creating out-of- the-box cocktails.
“We love to push the envelope,” said Henrichsen. “Mark has a passion for it, and his knowledge is great. He is pushing the cocktail program heavily.”
The beauty behind cocktails comes from combining flavors that are unlikely to be paired together.
“We always have something crazy going on,” laughed Henrichsen. “We recently did a Maple Bacon Old Fashioned. It was a fat- washed bourbon with bacon fat topped with a piece of candied bacon.”
A personal favorite of Henrichsen is the Elijah Craig Black is the New Orange—an old-fashioned with Elijah Craig Bourbon, demerara, black walnut bitters, and a dash of orange bitters.
For those who are indecisive, Henrichsen says his knowledgeable staff will always be there to provide guidance.
Henrichsen described, “We typically ask what’s in your fridge and what’s the last cocktail you loved? It also comes down to their flavor profile. Are they sweet, sour, or savory?”
Henrichsen states that his business all starts with his team.
“I’m a firm believer that if you take care of your staff, your staff takes care of your customers, and your customers take care of your business,” stated Henrichsen.
Windsor Block Bar hosts cocktail classes for anyone interested in becoming a bartender for the night.
When it comes to his customers, Henrichsen says that his bar hosts different spectrums of clientele and has something for everyone.
“Our patrons are here for the love of what we’re doing,” he smiled. “That’s what I love about our bars. We base our drinks on the spirit of what we’re enjoying.”
“If there is a way to find a twist, we’re at least trying it out.” – Justin Henrichsen
Henrichsen wants to continue showing his love for the cocktail scene throughout his community. The entrepreneur emphasized his hope for the potential growth and appreciation of cocktail bars throughout the state.
Henrichsen said, “I hope we can start ushering more people into the cocktail culture and bourbon love.”
For more information, visit WINDSORBLOCKBAR.COM.