5.7.16

Noteworthy Dive Bars of the North End Biking Tour -- July 21st

[Link to map is here.]
The North End... you probably haven't heard of it. It's easily one of Saint Paul's most overlooked neighborhoods, and doubly so because it's centrally located.

Roughly speaking, the North End is the area north of train tracks that define downtown and Frogtown, but West of the Trout Brook valley (and Interstate 35) that defines the East Side. It's home to the city's oldest cemeteries, that once lay along the Saint Paul's borders.

For a hundred years, the North End has been a working class neighborhood, tough but fair, full of light industrial shops pushed up against hand-built hundred-year-old houses. The houses becomes fancier as you approach the Victorian parkland surrounding Lake Como, before turning into cozy 1940s-era homes in the neighborhoods to the North. Walking around the Lake offers an an unparalleled slice of Saint Paul.

I lived in the North End for seven years, and know the terrain. When I moved there in the early 2000s, there were still a bunch of old dive bars in the neighborhood, tucked on corners. Twelve years later, some of them are gone, and one of them has become a bit fancier. But a few of them have remained almost entirely unchanged, despite the tough economic times. They're all interesting, even the sites of dives gone by.

Note: We will not be stopping at any dive bars on Rice Street, which might seem strange because Rice Street, the commercial heart of the North End, is also one of Saint Paul's two or three old streetcar streets that remains chock full of dive bars. But this is by design. Rice Street will be the subject of an extra-special tour, possibly sometime in the fall.

The tour will include stories of fire, neglect, cemeteries, movie stars, parking on sidewalks, a short prostitution anecdote, underground bocce, a unique charitable gambling setup, square dancing reminiscence, a hypothesis featuring postal workers, and more!

Hope to see you then.

[Zoltar and a stamp machine offer everything you need.]


What: A relaxed-pace six-mile (6 mi.) bike ride including four (4) current and three (3) former dive bars in Saint Paul's North End neighborhood
When: Thursday July 21st, leaving at 6:30
Why: Because it's there
Where: Meet at Hoover's Pub on Jackson Street
Who: Anyone -- free of charge, tips appreciated


[The Half Time Rec on Front Avenue, with a cemetery on the horizon.]

[Read about other dive bar tours here: Payne and Arcade, Outer Northeast, Inner Northeast, The Midway, South Minneapolis, and Old Fort Road.]

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