Skip to main content

Maestro of Nye's piano bar for 45 years, Lou Snider dies at age 81

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Nye's Polonaise Room actually consists of a handful of rooms. The one with the piano is called the Chopin Room; but it might have been more appropriate to call it the Lou Snider room.

His portrait may hang there but we're pretty sure Frédéric Chopin never played at Nye's. "Sweet Lou," on the other hand, reigned over the piano bar for 45 years.

Snider took requests, refereed sing-a-longs, and generally provided damage control – passing a microphone around a semi-circle of patrons and helping them feel special enough that many returned to the bar repeatedly.

She died on Sunday at age 81. The Star Tribune reports Snider had cancer. Her obituary says she is survived by her husband of 55 years, David, as well as three children and many nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.

https://twitter.com/citypagesmusic/status/705152520985845760

When Esquire magazine named Nye's the "Best Bar in America" in 2006, Snider was featured in their write-up, with a description of the diminutive pianist boosting herself onto her bench with the smoke-stained portrait of Chopin looking over her shoulder.

"Although she is too modest to announce the truth herself, Lou is believed to have thousands of songs ready to dance from her fingers, and she smiles warmly at just about every request, as though she hasn't already played "Unforgettable" eight million times, and wouldn't that be nice?"

https://twitter.com/StribLove/status/704844008627920896

The Star Tribune says after her retirement in 2011, Snider continued to fill in occasionally at Nye's.

She told Twin Cities Daily Planet: “It never seemed like work. I went in, did my thing and went home.” As for the singers who surrounded her, Lou said “You knew two notes in if they were excellent singers. Luckily, the majority were good.”

Soon after her retirement, Snider described the piano bar experience in an interview with KFAI.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoSeNb67osg

Owners of Nye's announced more than a year ago that they will close the venerable bar and restaurant and sell the northeast Minneapolis site to developers who plan an apartment building there. April 3 is scheduled to be the closing date for Nye's.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 11.03.12 AM

Man dies after crashing truck into western Wisconsin lake

The victim was unable to make it to shore despite being able to get out of his truck.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Sheriff: Man who didn't return to campsite died in ATV crash

It happened at the Foothills State Forest and Spider Lake ATV Recreation Area

Richard Liu, aka Liu Qiangdong

Chinese billionaire settles lawsuit over alleged rape in Minneapolis

The tech billionaire was accused of sexually assaulting a University of Minnesota student in 2018.

US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.

19050650853_a4a6377429_k

Ed Sheeran to bring North America stadium tour to Minneapolis

It's the second show announced for the Vikings stadium in 2023.

Kim Crockett

GOP candidate Kim Crockett won't commit to accepting election result

Crockett has been a proponent of conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 presidential election.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.41.39 AM

Charges: Man carjacked father, daughter as they loaded groceries outside Cub

The father grappled with the suspect after he had pointed a gun at his daughter.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 8.25.27 PM

Pilot, brother and sister killed when plane crashed into house are ID'd

The plane crashed into a house in Hermantown, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 7.18.52 PM

Rolled semi, livestock on freeway interchange in Woodbury

Traffic cameras showed what appeared to be hogs on the side of the road.

Eric Reinbold

Reinbold guilty of murdering wife with 'particular cruelty'

Eric Reinbold, 46, was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree in Pennington County Friday.

police tape

Armed assault suspect arrested after standoff in Waite Park

The standoff ended early Saturday when officer obtained a warrant for the home.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 9.06.25 AM

3 dead after plane crashes into house in Hermantown

Two people in the house were uninjured.

Related