The humming neon sign on Hennepin's are numbered. The piano that's backed a thousand renditions of My Way will soon go silent. Monday it was announced that Nye's Polonaise Room will close.
The bar is more legend than location, with glitter, gold vinyl booths, dark nooks and crannies that have hosted generations of private moments and an ambiance that is only earned with decades. The location once earned the honor of Best Bar in America from Esquire and just this year filmed an episode for the TV show of the same name.
The bar first opened in 1950 by Al Nye and has changed little in the ensuing years (although, sadly Ruth Gordon, the leader of the World's Most Dangerous Polka Band passed away in 2011.) It was purchased in 1999 by Ron and Tony Jacob.
Reportedly, business has fallen off in recent years and the Jacobs hope that announcing the imminent closure will draw in fans for a final goodbye saying, "It's the end of an era and we want to do it the right way." The announcement was made to employees Monday. Nye's will close late summer or early fall of 2015.
UPDATE: The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports the Jacobs have partnered with Schafer Richardson to develop an apartment tower on the site. Although the number of apartments inside the building have not been determined, Schafer Richardson said the building would be "well over" six stories tall and that no part of the original structure would be saved. Although, Brad Shafer conceded that the building "could pay homage" to the restaurant.
Schafer Richardson are known for large dwelling developments and are currently at work on a large apartment building at the site of another one-time historic Northeast restaurant, Totino's. A six story, 130 unit luxury building that has just been completed. The company has also built the Bassett Creek and 710 Lofts in the North Loop.
All hope is not lost for those who love historic Minneapolis. The building is located in the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District and any new developments are subject to review by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Committee, which has the power to block demolition.
Co-owner Rob Jacob told the Star Tribune that Nye's buildings are run down and that the company has struggled for years to make the business financially viable. Choosing to partner with Schafer Richardson was decided, in part, by the company's reputation for projects that improve Northeast Minneapolis.
- Developer plans high rise on Nye's site [STRIB]
- Nye's Polonaise will close after 65 years [MSPBJ]
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- All Nye's Coverage [-EMPLS-]