MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Soon, Minneapolis nightlife will be a bit different than it’s been in 62 years. The owner of a beloved classic music venue is closing the doors indefinitely.

Lee’s Liquor Lounge is just a few blocks from Target Field. It opened in 1957. The longtime owner, Louis Sirian, sold the bar to patron Craig Kruckeberg in 2015. Kruckeberg is closing the bar, at least for now.

Nestled in the heart of the city, it’s a place that beats loudly. Texan Dale Watson was so inspired, he wrote a song about the music hall — a place that can only be described as “eccentric.”

“It’s an iconic place,” said longtime regular Rachael Resist West. “It’s been around for decades, and it’s really sad to think of losing one more place.”

West heard the news that after 62 years of hosting acts from all genres, Lee’s Liquor Lounge will be silent.

(credit: CBS)

“I wanted to talk with the owner and just plead with him to reconsider closing,” she said. “It’s taking away a part of our history.”

Kruckeberg says he simply doesn’t have a choice.

“When I unlocked the door and I was the first one here today, I do have a pit in my stomach because Robin and I, my wife, we have a lot of dreams in this place,” Kruckeberg said.

He leases his parking lot from the city. He says they will soon take over the lot for light rail construction.

“My struggle is, is there going to be a parking lot for my customers?” he said. “We’re a destination. We’re not a walk-to place.”

He says he will close in mid-May, do some renovations on the 19th-century building with the hopes the music will one day play on.

“I can’t make any decision till I know what’s going to happen with the parking lot, because if I don’t have a parking lot, we don’t have Lee’s,” Kruckeberg said.

Dale Watson will be the last act to play Lee’s Liquor Lounge. He will have two shows May 12 and May 14.

Kruckeberg says his hope is to be able to re-open within 18 months.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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