O’Gara’s Bar and Grill will not reopen. The Irish bar had stood on the corner of Snelling and Selby Avenues for 77 years before closing last year. It was expected to return in a newly constructed space, at the base of a building that is currently nearing completion. Now, Dan O’Gara says that after careful consideration, re-opening would be financially “untenable.”
However, the St. Paul institution will continue to operate its popular stand at the Minnesota State Fair and O’Gara’s catering will still be available.
Its original location closed in the fall of 2018 with plans to return with reduced square footage at the base of a brand new apartment building. The restaurant’s website still states, “We are not closing. We are reinventing ourselves,” with a projected reopening of spring 2020.
Originally opened in 1941 by Jim O’Gara, his son Tim then expanded the neighborhood bar in 1972 to include more rooms and a live music venue. Tim’s son Dan, the final owner of the bar carried on the tradition after Tim’s retirement in 2003.
O’Gara’s is one of several iconic bars that have succumbed to the wrecking ball in the name of new construction, mainly for new apartment buildings. Kelly’s Depot, the original Grumpy’s, and Nye’s Polonaise Room have all met the same fate.