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As we rounded the back of Murphy’s Bar in downtown Rapid City, we wondered what we were getting ourselves into. We were looking for the alley entryway not to warm, wood-paneled Murphy’s, but to the Blind Lion—a rumored speakeasy in the basement. “Look for a door that says Employees Only,” we’d been advised, texting with the stranger instructing us on how to get in as we sat in our room at Hotel Alex Johnson. After finding the alley door and getting through to another door (this one password-protected), we entered a large space with low, warm light.
Wooden tables and chairs spread over the floor, and a bartender dressed in slacks and suspenders shook cocktails endlessly. We took in the scene at the bar, lit by small, candle-like lamps, and sat to listen to the guitar player and his instrument. The rustic yet classy space was a fun experience for those nights you’d like to sip on a nice cocktail or two (or more, we ain’t judging) in a low-key environment. Other memorable spots, like Vertex Bar on the top floor of Hotel Alex Johnson, was incredible for watching the sunset on their outdoor patio, populated with a handful of outdoor fireplaces. And of course, for lovers of local brews there’s the Firehouse Brewing Company, refashioned from an old firehouse into an expansive brewery decorated with murals that are nod to the building’s past. We asked to sample their full flight of beers for a really awesome treat.