It’s not fair to judge a new restaurant by the iconic one it replaced, that is unless the owners make the controversial decision to use the same name, invoke those involved and are the same people that tore down the original. When that is the case, as is with the new Nye’s, all bets are off. The Heavy Table recently visited the new cocktail and piano bar, there’s no food served there, that is an ode to Nye’s Polonaise Room. The new Nye’s is owned by Rob and Tony Jacob who bought and operated the former Nye’s for several years until it’s closure and and subsequent demo. The original Nye’s was opened in 1964 and served as a largely unchanged supper club, bar, piano lounge and event space until it shuttered last year.
What exists now where the vinyl glitter booths once stood and the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band once played is a new luxury apartment building on the valuable piece of real estate at 112 Hennepin Avenue East, just over the Hennepin Bridge from downtown Minneapolis.
Nye’s Bar just opened in early January 2018. When the Heavy Table visited, they reported the “straightforward cocktail menu” to be filled with classics that weren’t always well-made. An Old Fashioned included ginger ale and tasted “watered down” and the taste was “was worse than anticipated.” A Manhattan was an “undrinkable flop,” but the Iron Butterfly, which was a take on a White Russian was balanced, nutty and not overly sweet.
After three cocktails the review declares, “This misguided attempt at a revival feels like a poor movie sequel no one asked for.”