Discovering, Hotels + Resorts, Northern MN

Stay at Cantilever Distillery + Hotel for a Unique Minnesota Experience

Have you ever dreamed of staying overnight at a distillery? Grab the opportunity at the Cantilever Distillery + Hotel in Rainier, MN. Cantilever Distillery offers views of Rainy Lake which separates Minnesota from Canada and sits just outside Voyageurs National Park.

We discovered Cantilever Distillery + Hotel thanks to a road trip brewery search using the search on Growler Magazine Land of 10,000 Drinks Map. Finding vegan food while traveling in non-metro areas can be a challenge, to say the least. Cantilever Distillery has an attached boutique hotel and restaurant that also serves vegan food!  Kismet! 

Where is Cantilever Distillery

Cantilever Distillery + Boutique Hotel is just 15 minutes from Voyageurs National Park. We drove on the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway that brought us from Hallock all the way to Rainier. This Scenic Byway can be a great opportunity to catch the Northern Lights in Minnesota.

It was already an awesome day, as we had just come from an unexpected stop at The Shed in Warroad.  We stretched our legs at Bronson State Park and Zippel State Park on the way to Ranier, taking in the beautiful scenery in Northern Minnesota, and finally ended our amazing day at Cantilever Distillery + Hotel.

Read about more scenic drives in Minnesota and the Midwest in our book, Midwest Road Trips

We definitely picked up on the bridge theme throughout the property and with good reason. The Cantilever Bridge played a huge part in the area during the prohibition of the 1920s. We’re told the Cantilever Bridge connected Canada to the United States which allowed for some alleged smuggling of spirits to get the locals through these troubled times. 

The distillery is built on the former site of Woody’s Fairly Reliable Guide Service which is known around the world. The Distillery pays homage to Woody with a spirit line called Woody’s Fairly Reliable. Read more about Woody

cantilever distillery + hotel

First Impressions of Cantilever Distillery + Hotel

The exterior of Cantilever Distillery + Hotel is impressive when you arrive and definitely sets the tone. The building is a combination of a brick exterior and metal beams, big garage doors that open to the patio, and a rooftop deck and hot tub. It’s very industrial-looking and inviting.

The interior is equally impressive! You’ll enter the Cocktail Room restaurant and bar area once you go inside. At the reception desk, you’ll be seated for dining/cocktails or check into your hotel room. 

We made our dinner reservation, settled into our room, and then explored the property. 

The Rooms at Cantilever Distillery + Hotel

Rustic, clean, and comfortable is how we would describe our room. The room layout was standard for two queen beds but the details were not! Tall, metal ceilings made the room appear big. The carpeted rooms made sure the room wasn’t echoey. Metal details throughout the room include the reading lamps over the beds as well as chunky wood details. The bathroom was floor-to-ceiling white subway tile with black accents and a walk-in shower with Molton Brown bathroom toiletries. Kelly took right to Amazon to find the brand. The scents are amazing and subtle and not typical hotel soap.

Our room overlooked train tracks which did not bother us. If anything, it added to the ambiance of our location. 

Dinner in the Cocktail Room 

As we said, we were blown away by the vegan options on the menu. We started with the Roasted Cauliflower. It was rubbed with a house-made Harissa spice then glazed to perfection with peanut satay, then garnished with applewood smoked cashews. Oh, my word!!! Order this for sure!

The only vegan “mids” on the menu was a Black Bean Veggie burger and it was delicious. Can’t say for sure that this didn’t contain egg but we were just happy to have an option to order. We ordered hand-cut fries as our side. 

Cocktails at Cantilever

Full disclosure, we absolutely did not take advantage of sleeping at a distillery when we ordered a cocktail with dinner. We were so beat from a full day of traveling that we shared one cocktail from their cocktail menu. It was kind of fun when the waitress asked if we wanted dessert or a dessert cocktail to bring to our room. A bloody mary sounded like it would pair well with our burgers so we ordered one to share.

Yes, you can have one for the road!

Again, we did not take advantage of sleeping at a distillery! It was fun to walk back to our room which was just down the hall with our leftover Caesar/Bloody Mary. The Caesar was made of the house Woody’s Vodka, a spicy Caesar or bloody mary mix, pickles, and olives. 

Amenities at Cantilever Distillery + Hotel

Since the property sits just one block up from Rainy Lake, an amenity is that you have easy access to Rainy Lake. Rainy Lake flows between and separates Minnesota from Canada. You can easily see Rainy Lake from the parking lot and rooftop deck. 

In addition to the on-site restaurant, other unique hotel amenities include distillery tours, a rooftop hot tub, and free yoga. There is also a gift shop which of course includes items from their distillery. They also have e-bikes available making it easy to coast around town. 

More About Cantilever Distillery + Hotel

The Boutique Hotel is part of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham and we can personally attest that the rooms were very well appointed! We highly recommend a stay at the Cantilever Distillery + Hotel if you find yourself in Northern Minnesota. Cantilever Distillery + Hotel was also featured in an article in Travel + Leisure with other distillery hotels around the world.

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