Have a Little Jazz Age with Your Cocktail

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

Commodore3

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.

commodorepatio

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.

commodorediningroomthe-commodore-bar-restaurant

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.

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Published in: on December 5, 2015 at 9:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Yorker fiction story by Franzen about Ramsey Hill

Scavenger Hunt Clue 3

The June 8-15th issue of the New Yorker has a story whose setting is Ramsey Hill in the 1970s-80s.  The author is Jonathan Franzen.  There are a few references to place names in the neighborhood.  If you lived here in the 1970s and 1980s, you will have to judge for yourself if the activities and characters seem true to the area.

We are on the third clue for our Scavenger Hunt.  When 20 clues have posted, guests can go out and find the address of the architectural detail, and, if they can find 15 of them, they get 10% off their stay at Cathedral Hill Bed and Breakfast.

Published in: on June 15, 2009 at 8:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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