Nestled in the back alleys of uptown, Minneapolis, Volstead’s Emporium goes to great lengths to offer alternative nightlife seekers an authentic speakeasy experience. The prohibition themed bar is so dedicated to its era, in fact, that it has no website, social media channels or digital presence. When coming up with the concept, the owners of Volstead’s–which is named after Minnesota politician Andrew Volstead, who played a key part in drafting and passing prohibition legislation in the 1920s–knew every element of the bar’s physical experience would be essential in establishing the brand and transporting customers into a different age.


In the age of the internet, trying to start a business that explicitly avoids digital marketing in any form is incredibly risky. Regardless, the owner’s of Volstead’s Emporium are completely committed to embracing the speakeasy era in all its glory. Word of mouth is the only thing bringing paying customers to their counter, so the word better be pretty darn good. When creating the physical space no detail could be overlooked and no design element could be treated as inconsequential. Working with Volstead’s owners, Westwerk was tapped to help create custom designs that would make Volstead’s an icon of the Minneapolis nightlife scene without ever actually putting it on the map.


Weaving two entirely different periods into one cohesive space, Westwerk helped create an interior design experience that paired art noveau with American art deco and elements of 1920s New York, Paris and Prague. From specially-made wallpaper with optical illusion-inducing gold overlays to custom light fixtures, we helped consult on nearly every aspect of Volstead’s decor.


From a more traditional perspective, our design team provided an original color palette, unique business cards, creative coasters, logo and menu design.


Patrons are lining up out the door and around the block as Volstead’s Emporium quickly becomes the talk of the town. This hidden gem has received rave reviews including a cover feature on February’s MSP Mag and a profile piece in the Variety section of Star Tribune.

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