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Palmer’s In Mpls. Makes Esquire’s List Of Best Bars

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(credit: CBS) Angela Davis
Angela Davis joined the station in 2006. Angela co-anchors the Sund...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A neighborhood bar in the Twin Cities, open since 1906, is getting some national attention.

Palmer’s Bar in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis just landed on Esquire Magazine’s list of Best Bars in America.

Owners Keith Berg and Lisa Hammer, who bought Palmer’s in 2001, are thrilled and surprised by the news. They recall being in a meeting when workers at the bar delivered the news.

“They ran up the stairs like little kids to show us the phone number and said, ‘You’re in Esquire!'” Berg said.

They take pride in keeping it simple, yet distinctive.

“No bow ties, no blenders,” he said.

Instead of trying to be fancy, they try to keep the atmosphere comfortable. So much so, even the writers at Esquire admit that it’s a dive.

“Oh it’s a huge reward. It’s acknowledgement of how people either understand this bar or they don’t,” Hammer said. “And the fact that someone came here and saw all that we have to offer, yeah, it’s a great reward for what we have to offer.”

Esquire noted the “Wall of Shame” behind the bar, which consists of slips of paper describing bad behavior that has occurred inside Palmer’s. And they also mentioned the variety of colorful characters that stop in for a drink – even in the morning.

“It’s been here 108 years, and, I don’t know, I mean you have people that come here that their grandfather came here, their grandparents,” Hammer said.

Photos on the wall from the 1930s prove that not much has changed at Palmer’s, other than the addition of an outdoor patio. Mike Winebrenner has worked the bar here for 15 years. He shared the secret of being a good bartender.

“They want to tell you their problems, even though you don’t have an answer, you want to listen to them and just kind of agree with them because even if you don’t tell them what their problem is or how to solve their problem and just agree with them, they’ll solve it on their own and go, ‘Thanks for the information!'” Winebrenner said.

Palmer’s Bar also has live music Thursday through Sunday nights. The owners say that being named one of the best bars in America has some of the regulars a little worried that more tourists will be stopping in now – and they’re probably right.

They were one of top-ten bars in the country for sales of Jameson Irish Whiskey, and they prefer to serve mixed drinks that only have two ingredients. Keith Berg wasn’t kidding when he said there are no blenders.

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