In 1838, a rum trader named “Pig’s Eye” Parrant built a small shack in a Mississippi bluff that became the first business in the city of St. Paul: a saloon. Since then, bars, taverns, saloons, and speakeasies have been part of the cultural, social, and physical landscape of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Serving as neighborhood landmarks, sites of political engagement, welcoming centers for immigrants, hotbeds of criminal activity, targets of ire from church and state alike, and, of course, a place to get a drink, the story of the taverns and saloons of the Twin Cities is the story of the cities themselves.
In Closing Time, Bill Lindeke and Andy Sturdevant dive into tales from famous and infamous drinking establishments from throughout Twin Cities history. Readers are led on a multigenerational pub crawl through speakeasies, tied houses, rathskellers, cocktail lounges, gin mills, fern bars, social clubs, singles bars, gastropubs, and dives. Featuring beloved bars like Matt’s, Palmer’s, the Payne Reliever, and Moby Dick’s, the book also resurrects memories of long-forgotten establishments cherished in their day. Lindeke and Sturdevant highlight neighborhood dives, downtown nightspots, and out-of-the-way hideaways, many of which continue to thrive today. Closing Time brings together stories of these spaces and the people who frequented them.