Bye-bye Nye's: Owners of 'best bar in America' announce Mpls. institution will close


Owners of Nye's Polonaise Room say 2015 will be the final year for their landmark northeast Minneapolis restaurant and bar.

The Business Journal reports Tony and Rob Jacob, who purchased Nye's 15 years ago, told employees Monday they'll close the establishment in the new year.

Rob Jacob tells MPR News, "Over the last six years we've been struggling to keep above water there and we were subsidizing it. We were trying to keep it going as long as we could, but we just can't do it anymore."

The Business Journal says a closing in late summer or early fall is planned. Such advance notice is rare in the bar and restaurant industry, but Rob Jacob tells the Journal "it's the end of an era and we want to do it the right way."

Al Nye opened the doors in 1950 and not very much has changed there since then. The polka bar, the piano bar, and the glittering semi-circular booths were in vogue at mid-century and circled back around to a new popularity a generation later.

Of its many accolades, one of the highest came in 2006 when Esquire (after "a four-month search") named Nye's the best bar in America. "Sweet" Lou Snider received special recognition in the article for her four decades of service in the piano bar.

The Food Network's Guy Fieri was among those who hailed that Polish delicacy the pirogi as served at Nye's.

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The Business Journal reports 35 people work at Nye's. The Jacob brothers hope the early announcement of its closing will give those who've loved it a chance to pay another visit before the doors close.

Perhaps they'll take a spin to the sounds of another standby at the bar, the "World's Most Dangerous Polka Band," one of whose members, Ruth Adams, was the subject of an homage from Twin City Sidewalks when she died in 2011.

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