Here are five establishments that have been around for a long time and are now a part of the history of Minnesota. Get in touch with the watering holes that have withstood the test of time to continue to bring Minnesotans a pint with a past.
Oldest family-run bar: Gluek’s Restaurant and Bar
16 N. 6th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Gottlieb Gluek was 27 when he arrived in Minneapolis in 1855. Two years later, he established the Mississippi Brewery at Marshall Street and 22nd Avenue NE having only modest success. Gottlieb’s sons continued the business as G. Gottlieb & Sons, and later as the Gluek Brewing Company. They built the establishment over the years and were shipping 44 barrels a day by 1902. The family also opened 11 bars throughout the years as an outlet for the local favorite beer. Dave Holcomb, fourth-generation owner, says his great grandfather purchased their bar from Gluek’s in 1934 and operated as Fransen’s Bar until 1979 when they changed the name back to Gluek’s. Third Street Brewhouse owns the brand and brews five private labels of Gluek’s beer for the bar and restaurant.
Oldest bar in continuous operation: Neumann’s Bar
2531 E. 7th Ave.
North St. Paul, MN 55109
Bill Neumann opened this bar in 1887 and it has been serving home-town customers continuously ever since. Hamm’s Brewery installed the classic back bar for Bill. It is something to admire. The clock on the wall dates back to 1892. It tells time as long as someone remembers to wind the clock. The bar survived Prohibition by selling near-beer. Special guests could obtain homemade refreshments in the speakeasy upstairs. Now there is a bait shop, beer and delicious tacos; everything a person could need.
Oldest bar in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District: The Monte Carlo
219 3rd Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Built in 1902 as one of Gluek’s bars, you can behold the trademark “G” in the original tin ceiling in the dining area to this day. It became the Monte Carlo restaurant in 1906, and now offers weekday lunches, evening meals and Sunday brunch and a full selection of drinks and wines. The facility sports a beautiful copper-topped bar and a beautiful large patio.
Most famed Minnesota bar in literature: Commodore Hotel
79 Western Ave. N.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Opened in 1920, literary great F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald moved into this glamorous art deco hotel and frequented the bar for four years as the author gained in fame and wealth and then moved to France in 1924. Stories abound of their drinking and partying at the bar in this hotel and also at the University Club. Gangsters Al Capone and Fred Barker frequented the bar in the 1930s. Ma Barker met her son Fred’s girlfriend here. There is no longer a bar as the hotel was remodeled into offices and condos after a devastating gas explosion in 1978 that injured 71 people.
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Longest tradition of hospitality: Lowell Inn
102 N. Second St.
Stillwater, MN 55082
Built in 1927, the Lowell Inn was named for famed Stillwater entrepreneur Elmore Lowell. Former vaudevillians, Arthur and Nelle Palmer, operated the Inn for many years. Nelle greeted diners and travelers in the Lowell Inn’s glamorous lobby with grace and style. After three generations of Palmers, the Inn was sold to the St. Croix Boat and Packet Company in 2001. You will see a portrait of Nelle hanging in the formal dining George Washington room as testament to the hospitality of three generations of the Palmer family and the new owner’s commitment to their high standard.
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Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.