Lee's Liquor Lounge changing owners – but not much else


One of Minnesota's most beloved honky tonks is getting a new owner.

But the buyer of Lee's Liquor Lounge is a regular customer who says no big changes are in store at Minneapolis' popular dive bar and country/rockabilly joint.

The Business Journal reports Louis Sirian ("I'm 80. It's time to quit.") has an agreement to sell Lee's to Craig Kruckeberg in a deal that won't be final until the city council transfers the liquor license.

Kruckeberg tells the Journal that – apart from accepting credit cards and adding a patio – he won't change much at Lee's.

Indeed, the Star Tribune notes that for fans of Lee's much of the appeal seems rooted in its resistance to change.

From the mountain lion and marlin mounted on the walls to the checkered linoleum dance floor, the atmosphere has been consistent through the four decades that Sirian has owned the bar.

Kruckeberg, who is the CEO of a Blooming Prairie-based trucking accessory company called Minimizer, tells the Star Tribune and other news outlets he was motivated to purchase Lee's after learning that another old-school Minneapolis nightspot – Nye's Polonaise Room – is being purchased by a developer who will build a residential high-rise on the site.

Dale Watson, one of the national acts who performs frequently at Lee's, immortalized Sirian's watering hole by releasing the song "Louie's Lee's Liquor Lounge."

Lee's website includes a 1997 Skyway News article with more on how Sirian came to purchase the bar from the family of its founder, Lee Tremer.

A guide for Lee's visitors first published in the Southwest Journal 11 years ago is still more or less on the money today.

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