Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

If you’re visiting Cathedral Hill B&B through Sept. 5, Labor Day, and you like animals, rides, exhibitions, and great food, give the Minnesota State Fair a go. We’re pretty proud of it. We’ve got a few of the Fair’s main attractions highlighted below, but there’s a lot more to see and do in the Fair’s 320 acre spread. So bring your walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, and enthusiasm!

Along with the expected rides and games in the Midway & Kidway, there’s also plenty of other entertainment. The big name entertainers in the Grandstand require tickets, but there is also a multitude of free entertainment to enjoy throughout the Fair.

Midway night

Midway twilight

Food is another big State Fair draw. The list of new foods is eagerly awaited every year, and at least one of them is always on-a-stick. Offerings range from the all-you-can-drink-milk-for-$2 to classic pronto pups and mini donuts to fresh ice cream and baked goods to sit-down restaurant fare. Mmmm

As a largely agricultural state, the Minnesota State Fair is riddled with animals, farm equipment, and produce. Farmers from all over the state bring their animals in to compete for prizes in size, condition, conformation, and abilities. You can tour the barns and see the prize livestock, or watch the shows and competitions in the ring. You also don’t want to miss the Miracle of Birth Center.

Animals Sow & piglets 2

Animals Horses

Some of the agricultural exhibits are a little more unusual. The butter sculptures include portraits of State Fair Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court, as well as other subjects. Watch a time lapse video of their creation, and see the completed statues and watch live carving in the Dairy Building.

Butter - cow moon

Crop Art is art made from seeds and other agricultural materials meticulously glued to a foundation to create detailed images. It’s quite a sight to see in the Agriculture Horticulture Building.

Seed Star Trek

Seed Starry Night

The State Fair also celebrates other Creative Activities, including needlework, canning and baking (which is look-don’t-taste, unfortunately), quilting, woodworking, stained glass, and other hand work. This may sound not-so-interesting, but the quality of work is amazing, and the types of displays are only limited by the maker’s imagination. Some of it is incredible, and, frankly, hard to believe. Find it all in the Creative Activities Building.

Creative - Quilt

Creative - Necklace

Creative - Baking

But it’s not all Crop Art and Creative Activities. There’s also an entire building dedicated to the juried Fine Arts competition, including drawing and painting, sculpture, textiles, and photography. Enjoy creative expressions from artists all over Minnesota. Many of the works displayed are for sale.

Fine Dolls

Fine ShipFine General

The Fair’s website is the place to go for more information about the Great Minnesota Get Together (and there is an app for that), including ticket information and park & ride. I’d recommend busing part or all of the way, as parking is challenging, to say the least. The Fair is two buses away from the B&B.

Have fun!

Published in: on August 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Breakfast in Historic Style

The B&B is making some changes to how we serve breakfast. In order to give our guests more flexibility, we’re now offering two options in both menu and service.

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We’re still serving our delicious hot breakfast in the dining room with a choice of sweet or savory, both chef’s choice. Both options always include a range of sides, including meat, our special granola, and fruit, and beverages, such as juice, coffee, and tea. Check out the breakfast menu page on our website for a more complete listing.

This is a full service breakfast, served at 8:30 every morning.

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If this doesn’t meet your needs, we’re also offering a self-serve breakfast option from 6-10 am. This includes our special homemade granola, Greek yogurt, milk, juice, and a variety of hot drinks. Check our breakfast menu page for more details.

Because this breakfast is self-serve, you have your choice of dining locations, including

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the parlor, where the buffet is set up,

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the table on our grand porch,

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and, if you like your dining a little more casual, our more relaxed porch seating area.

The porch comes with some great views up and down our historic and very green avenue.

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So when you come visit us, let us know which breakfast option works for you, as well as any food sensitivities or allergies. We’re here to help, and make you as comfortable as we can.

Enjoy, and bon appetit!

Published in: on June 27, 2016 at 4:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fit for Your New Easter Bonnet

If you’re visiting the B&B over Easter, you might want to go out for a lovely, leisurely brunch. Here are some excellent options.

The St. Paul Hotel has two restaurants, and thus two Easter brunch offerings, one a bit posher than the other, but both equally delicious and with top-flight service.

Galaxy Easter eggs

St. Paul Grill

The first is the grande dame of Easter brunches upstairs in the St. Paul Grill, complete with live music and six lavish food stations – Salads, Seafood ice display for shrimp, Carvery, Entree and vegetable station, Breakfast station, and the Pastry chef’s grand dessert display.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St, St. Paul, MN 55102
$45.00 per person • $19.00 per child, age 4-10 • children under 3, free. (Brunch is Pre-Paid.) Price includes service charge and tax, and two free hours of parking at Lawson ramp (between St. Peter Street and Wabasha on 5th Street).
Reservations: Online or at 651-228-3860

Easter chicks

M ST. Cafe

Downstairs in the M ST. Cafe is an elegant buffet with hot and cold sideboards overflowing with sumptuous offerings.

9:00 am – 3:00 pm
St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St, St. Paul, MN 55102
$29.95 per person • $12.95 per child, age, 4-10 • children 3 and under, free. Includes up to two free hours of parking at Lawson Ramp (between St. Peter Street and Wabasha on 5th Street).
Make your reservation online or call 651-228-3855.

Egg tree

Kincaids – St. Paul

Offering a special Easter brunch menu, Kincaids, located downtown, offers elegant dining and wonderful food.

11:00 am – 3:00 pm
380 St. Peter Street #125, St. Paul, MN 55102
Price range – $30-$60 (according to Yelp.com), includes validated parking for 2 hours in the Lawson Commons Ramp
Reservations: Online or call 651-602-9000

Peep hat

Fabulous Ferns

They offer an expansive array of breakfast and lunch items to please all pallets, including a variety of traditional brunch items, both hot and cold, as well as special Easter items.

10:00 am – 3:00 pm
400 Selby Ave. St. Paul, MN 55102
Adults $17.95, Seniors $15.95, Children 12 and under $7.95
Reservations: 651.225.9414

Dyed Eggs

W. A. Frost

Featuring an extensive menu of eclectic, artisanal American cuisine served in a beautifully restored historic building, or on a beautiful patio (weather permitting).

10:30 am – 2:00 pm
374 Selby Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55102
Price range – $30-$60 (according to Yelp.com)
Reservations: Online or call 651-224-5715

Chicks in hats

The Happy Gnome

The Happy Gnome’s upscale contemporary menu is made in-house daily to achieve the freshest quality possible, and is well-balanced to suit local Midwestern tastes and palates.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm
498 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55102
Price range – under $30 (according to Yelp.com)
Reservations: Online or call (651) 287-2018

Whichever amazing option you choose, or if you choose something else entirely, enjoy!

 

Published in: on March 17, 2016 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Good Eats for the Irish in Us All

You’ll need food to support any St. Patrick’s Day celebrating you might do. Here are some ideas.

O’Gara’s Bar & Grill

Shamrock Glasses

O’Gara’s is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year with a St. Paddy’s tent party blowout. You can get corned beef and cabbage, a Shamrock burger, or other Irish goodies. Accompany it with some beer or a good whisky.

This week they’re serving music with their food. Check their website for additional events, but here’s their schedule for the day itself.

  • Noon – 4 pm: Hang out with Ben and Dana for the Go 96.3 Morning Show and test your luck on the Irish prize wheel for a chance to win some cool prizes.
  • O’Gara’s 25th Annual World’s Shortest Parade Led by the Brian Boru Pipe Band 3:30
  • Shamrock Room:  The Whiskies 4 – 8 pm & Two Hicks and a Chick 9 pm – 1 am
  • Tent:  The Todd Douglas Band 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm

164 N Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul, MN

Great Waters Brewing Company

Green Beer

This downtown restaurant will be opening at 10:00 am on the 17th for the convenience of parade-goers, and offering a limited St. Patrick’s Day menu including corned beef and cabbage, corned beef sandwiches, salmon, and clam chowder.

426 Saint Peter St., Saint Paul, MN

Tavern on Grand

Green Hat

This iconic eatery goes just a bit Irish on the 17th with a traditional corned beef and cabbage, but your luck is also almost certain to be good with their scrumptious walleye dishes.

656 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN

St. Paul Grill

Green Hair

The St. Paul Grill (the restaurant at the St. Paul Hotel) will have a stand on 5th & Market for the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting at 10:30 am. They’ll be serving Reuben sliders with sweet potato chips, Guinness, Jameson Ginger, and Bailey’s & Coffee. They’ll be serving their regular menu inside.

Shamrock’s: The Irish Nook

Shamrocks Three

Shamrock’s has a full day of events planned for St. Patrick’s day, extending into the weekend, including a special menu, a tent party, movies, and “all things green.” You can find more information on their Facebook page.

995 7th Street West, St. Paul, MN
Free Busing

Metro Transit is offering free rides from 6 pm to 3 am, so be safe.

Have a delicious time!

 

 

 

Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 4:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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St. Paul Joyfully Invites You to its St. Paddy’s Day Celebrations

While you’re visiting the B&B this week, help St. Paul celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The city takes the wearin’ o’ the green seriously, and here are some ways you can wear your Irish proudly (even if you’re not Irish at all!).

The Parade

Parade

This year marks the 50th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade through downtown St. Paul. Held rain, snow, or shine on March 17th (unless it falls on a holy day or Sunday), it’s a wildly popular event, with lots of bands, dancers, community groups, and wearing of the green, but only a few vehicles for dignitaries. The parade culminates with the crowning of Ms. Shamrock, and is put on by the St. Patrick’s Association.

Thurs, March 17th at noon. (You’ll want to arrive early for good viewing.)
It runs down 5th Street, starting at Sibley Street and ending at Rice Park.

35th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration & Day of Irish Dance

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Join the Irish Music & Dance association for a two-day celebration featuring regional and local Irish entertainment on multiple stages, Irish dance, Celtic vendors, Irish cuisine, pipe bands, and (Thursday only) children’s crafts and entertainment. Check the website for an entertainment schedule.

Thurs, March 17th, 10-5, and Sun, March 20th, 11-5
At the Landmark Center on Rice Park
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for kids 5-12, and can be purchased at the door either day

Kickin’ It Irish

A thrilling showcase of Irish music and dance.

March 10-17, check website for showtimes under ‘Get Tickets.’
At the SteppingStone Theatre, 55 N. Victoria St., St. Paul, MN
$16 for adults, $12 for students and seniors

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Irish Ceili Dance with music by Barra  

If you’re eager to dance instead of watch, this is the event for you. This is traditional Irish folk dance, with a caller, and it’s a great family event. Beginners are welcome. Beverages and desserts available.

Thurs, March 17, 2016. Dance instruction begins at 7, with dancing from 7:30-10 pm
Czech-Slovak Protective Society (CSPS) Hall, on West 7th and Michigan Ave.
Tickets available at the door: Adults, $10; kids aged 15 and under, $5

Annual St. Patrick’s Day Irish Ceili Dance with music from the Twin Cities Ceili Band

Another opportunity to dance traditional Irish folk dances, with lessons and calling. ‘Kid favorite’ dances played in the first hour.

Thurs, March 17, 7-10 pm
The Celtic Junction, 836 n. Prior Ave., St. Paul, MN
$10, $5 for ages 12 and under and 60 and up, free for kids ages 5 and under

And if none of that strikes your fancy, check out the calendar at the Irish Music and Dance Association for more great ideas for celebrating the Irish in St. Paul.

Free Busing

Also, Metro Transit is offering free rides from 6 pm to 3 am, so be safe.

Have a great celebration!

Published in: on March 16, 2016 at 4:05 am  Leave a Comment  
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Downtown Dining

So, you’re visiting beautiful St. Paul and you’re downtown, at the Winter Carnival, say. It’s about noon, and you want a nosh. Where should you go? Here are some ideas.

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Right on Rice Park is the St. Paul Hotel, which has a couple of fabulous restaurants. The St. Paul Grill is the fancier (and more expensive) option, with a full bar, while the M Street Cafe downstairs is also very tasty, with the choice to order the buffet or off the menu. We highly recommend the scrumptious fried egg sandwich.

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Anita’s Cafe, also on Rice Park in the Landmark Center, serves breakfast and lunch, and has a daily lunch special. Their food is fresh and delicious (they’re also a catering company), and served cafeteria style so it’s quick. They’re also very reasonably priced. Yelp labels them as a Mexican restaurant, and they do serve some Mexican dishes, but their menu has a much wider range.

Pazzaluna-Exterior

Pazzaluna is a bit off Rice Park to the east, and a little expensive, but serves really good Italian food. We recommend going for happy hour if you want to enjoy the bar and sample their food offerings for a little less money. They recommend reservations.

Sakura

Sakura is a Japanese restaurant that serves excellent sushi, as well as other Japanese favorites like bento boxes (a personal favorite). It has a full bar as well as the sushi bar, and is open for lunch and dinner.

Meritage

Meritage, a fine French and seasonal restaurant, is also really close to Rice Park in the historic Hamm Building, and recommends reservations. Their food is as beautiful as it is delicious, and worth every penny. They have an outdoor terrace and an oyster bar, in addition to their lovely dining room.

Mickey's Diner

If you’re looking for something a little simpler, Mickey’s Diner has been offering diner food in an art deco dining car since 1939. It’s a St. Paul institution. Stop in for a malt or a meal and soak up the ambiance.

This is, of course, a mere sampling of the great dining options in downtown St. Paul, so you should explore on your own, but it’s a place to start.

 

 

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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All Hail the Minnesota Winter!

A signature St. Paul event is happening this week – the St. Paul Winter Carnival.

The Winter Carnival, a tradition since 1886, is the oldest winter festival in the U.S. It was a response by local business owners to newspaper reports that the cold made the state virtually uninhabitable, and was designed to show off the beauties, and fun, of a Minnesota winter.

Boreas

The legend of the Winter Carnival centers around King Boreas, God of the Winds, and the Queen of Snows, who are holding court in St. Paul. They’re challenged by Vulcanus Rex, the God of Fire, Boreas’ implacable enemy. Boreas proclaims Carnival in St. Paul for ten days, and on the final day Vulcanus Rex storms Boreas’ ice castle. Not wanting to incite violence, Boreas retreats back to Olympus to dwell among the other gods there, and waits for ice and snow to enrobe St. Paul again next year.

Winter Court

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This story is acted out every year, with the courts of King Boreas, his brother winds, their princesses, and court officials, and Vulcanus Rex and his followers, and proceeds with the proper pomp and ceremony.

Ice sculptures

Ice Palace

The nexus of the carnival is Rice Park, located downtown St. Paul, where the ice sculptures are carved and displayed. This year there’s also a mini ice palace, made of 400 blocks of ice, an ice bar, and live music. Elsewhere are parades, the Snow Park with all sorts of fun family activities, the Disc Golf Ice Bowl, a snow plow competition, a cat show, and a winter run.

Medallion

And then there’s the Treasure Hunt. Daily clues appear in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and if you decode them correctly they point the way to the medallion’s hiding place and a fair amount of money. Otherwise you get fresh air, exercise, and the joy of the hunt. This is a very popular tradition, with thousands of people participating and some very active online forums debating the minutiae of the clues. You can see evidence of the searchers’ enthusiasm in the missing piece of the Medallion above.

So come join the fun and help celebrate winter in Minnesota.

 

Published in: on February 1, 2016 at 6:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Grande Dame Decked Out in All Her Holiday Finery

Although the holiday season has passed, we thought we’d give you an idea of how the B&B was dressed for the festivities this year. Beautifully, in case you wondered.🙂 (We limit the decorations to the public areas and outside. None of the guest rooms are adorned.)

We put up a lot of lights, as they reflect wonderfully off the woodwork, and impart a lovely glow after dark, which is much appreciated as the sun sets early this time of year.

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We string poinsettia lights around the inglenook mantel and …

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lights in the poinsettias illuminating the path up the stairs.

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Lights and boughs around the living room mantel,

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and a luminous ceramic village in the parlor.

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More lights in the dining room palm …

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revealing a roosting bird hidden among the fronds.

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A firmament …

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with angel in the dining room.

 

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And then, of course, the traditional mother load of ornaments – the tree!

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Decked out in treasures collected by our family over decades,

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many of which have stories and memories associated with them.

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The tree lends a beautiful radiance to the parlor inside …

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and glimmers through the window outside,

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complementing the little outdoor trees …

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and the rest of the house’s open air finery. (Just look at that porch!)

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Around back, just outside the kitchen, is a winter wonderland of greenery, lights, and snow, keeping the planters just as decorative in the winter as in the summer, when they’re full of flowers.

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I think snow is the prettiest shade you can have for fairy lights.

Published in: on January 30, 2016 at 7:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Help the Twin Cities Celebrate Christmas

Here are some ideas to help the Twin Cities celebrate Christmas while you’re visiting the B&B.

A Victorian Christmas at the Alexander Ramsey House

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“Experience the sights, sounds and tastes of a Victorian Christmas in 1875. During the guided tour, guests can taste homemade cookies fresh from the wood burning stove, listen to popular holiday music of the era played on the family’s Steinway piano, and view original family ornaments and Christmas gifts. Discover how the Ramsey family and their friends, neighbors and servants prepared for and celebrated the Christmas season. Shop in the Carriage House gift store for replica Victorian ornaments and holiday items.

The 60-minute guided tours start every half hour with the last tour starting at 3:30 pm. A Victorian Christmas at the Ramsey House runs Wednesdays through Sundays Nov. 27, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016, except Dec. 25.

Cost:  $11 adults, $9 seniors and college students, $7 ages 6-17, $3 discount MNHS [Minnesota Historical Society] members. Get tickets online or call 651-259-3015” (1 mile from the B&B.)

Hill House Holidays

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“The bustle and excitement of a Gilded Age Christmas is brought to life as the servants of the James J. Hill House prepare for the holidays. Costumed actors portray people who worked for the Hill family in a dramatized portrayal of servant life and holiday preparations at the Hill family’s Summit Avenue mansion. The program moves through the elegant first floor spaces and then to the basement servant work areas. The script is based on letters and oral histories of people who worked for the Hill family during the first decade of the 20th century.

Tours leave every half hour, and Hill House Holidays runs Saturdays and Sundays from Dec. 5-27.

Cost:  $12 adults, $10 seniors and students, $8 ages 6-17, $2 discount MNHS [Minnesota Historical Society] members. Get tickets online or call 651-259-3015” (6 blocks from the B&B.)

Check the James J. Hill House website for other events, such as concerts and storytelling.

An Eventually Christmas:  Holidays at the Mill

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“Join the Ghost of Mill City Past for an intimate look at the 1920 Washburn Crosby holiday party in this unique play set in the museum’s Flour Tower elevator ride. Scenes unfold on different floors where the audience meets characters drawn from the pages of the company’s employee newspaper, the Eventually News. Witness the rocky romance of Celia and Otto; meet marketing mastermind Benjamin S. Bull; experience the awesome sweeping power of Bill Smith and learn the secret origin of the Washburn Crosby marketing slogan, “Eventually—Why Not Now?”

Performances are at 6, 7 and 8 pm. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Ticket includes museum admission and refreshments after the play.

$14 adults, $12 seniors and college students, $10 ages 6-17 and MNHS [Minnesota Historical Society] members, $2 off adult admission with Fringe Festival button. Get tickets online or call 651-259-3015”

At the Mill City Museum Dec 13, 17, 18, 19th. (8.7 miles from the B&B.)

The Christmas Carol on stage

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The nationally renowned Guthrie Theater is continuing its annual tradition of Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Check the website for more information and showtimes. (8.3 miles from the B&B.)

European Christmas Market

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“The European Christmas Market in St. Paul is based on the traditional, charming, and festive open air Christkindlmarkts that spring up in Germany, Austria and other countries during the Advent season. Shop for unique, handmade holiday gifts and decorations from local vendors, drink Glühwein (spiced mulled wine), and taste European inspired food and delicacies during the first two weekends in December:

Friday, December 4: 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, December 5: 10 am – 9 p.m.
Sunday, December 6: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday, December 11: 2 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Saturday, December 12: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sunday, December 13: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.”

At Union Depot downtown St. Paul. (2.3 miles from the B&B.)

Christmas Concerts

Holiday Concert 2012 2
A listing of Christmas concerts happening all over the city.

Holiday Events from the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Zoo-Lights
A listing of events happening in the Twin Cities in December, many of them holiday themed.

 

Have a Little Jazz Age with Your Cocktail

An icon has returned to the neighborhood – the Commodore Bar & Restaurant.

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The Commodore opened in 1920 as a posh art deco residential hotel, which hosted such luminaries as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (who added their daughter, Scottie, and the novel “The Beautiful and Damned” to their family during their stays) and Sinclair Lewis, as well as gangsters Al Capone, John Dillinger, and Fred Barker. It was one of THE places to stay in St. Paul.

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Naturally, there were amenities to keep the guests in the style to which they were accustomed. These included a restaurant and an illegal speakeasy, which, on the repeal of Prohibition, became the Mirror Bar, designed by notable architect and Hollywood set designer Werner Wittkamp. Fred Barker’s mother, Ma Barker, met her son’s girlfriend there.

Commodore Fire

The building was gutted by a gas explosion/fire in February of 1978, and was remodeled into condos. Alas, there was no public eating or drinking space.

However, while the space was devastated, the bar itself somehow escaped damage; even its eponymous mirrors remained intact. After remodeling, the beautiful space could be rented for private events. In fact, one of Bill’s daughters had her wedding reception there.

Upper+Bar+7+10-05-15+(1)Lounge+5+10-05-15.

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Now, after two years of renovation characterized by careful research and meticulous attention to detail, the space has been restored to its former Jazz Age glory. Full of warm light from glass chandeliers, black and white checkerboard floors, white leather, and stunning lines, the bar and restaurant offer a comfortable and cozy atmosphere and a feast for the eyes. Both food and drink are influenced by the 1920s and ‘30s, and many of the cocktail ingredients are locally sourced. The owners want to keep the prices reasonable, with the dinner menu topping out at about $30 for an entree. There are plans for live music and dancing, and the vibe is casually dressy and a little upscale, turning an evening out into an event.

Image with the piano copyright City Pages.

Published in: on December 5, 2015 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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