Local Current Blog

Nye’s Polonaise will close next year

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal is reporting that the owners of Nye’s Polonaise, a Northeast Minneapolis landmark that’s become one of Minnesota’s best-known bars among connoisseurs across the country, have told employees they plan to close the bar and restaurant in the summer or early fall of 2015.

“We have made the decision to close Nye’s after careful consideration,” the Business Journal quotes co-owner Rob Jacob as saying. “In recent years, business has fallen off and it’s been difficult for us to stay competitive.” Jacob and his brother, co-owner Tony Jacob, said they wanted to give employees plenty of advance notice out of consideration for their service. The establishment, opened in 1950 by Al Nye, has been owned by the Jacob brothers since 1999.

Rob Jacob told the Star Tribune that the business has been struggling for years, and denied that the decision to close the bar was due to outside pressure by developers. He said he and his brother couldn’t think of a way to preserve Nye’s without making dramatic changes, and they didn’t want to do that. “For us to change anything, it wouldn’t have been Nye’s.”

Update 12/2: The Business Journal is now reporting that the Jacob brothers have entered into a joint venture with developer Schafer Richardson. According to developer Brad Schafer, the partners are actively considering plans to raze Nye’s and build a high-rise apartment complex.

In addition to the retro decor that helped earn Nye’s the distinction of “Best Bar in America” according to Esquire, Nye’s is beloved as a music venue—notably for traditional music by the likes of the late Ruth Adams and the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band, but also for regular gigs by artists like New Primitives, Molly Maher, and many others.

  • Stephen Halby

    Their food has always been amazing, if a bit overpriced. My only problem has been that their service can vary wildly from outstanding to very poor. As for the wait times, all places with such good food will have those at prime times, this place is no different. I will be sad to see them go though, the few times a year I go there, I really enjoy their excellent food.

    • Guest

      Thank you for your inestimable, off-hand, casual observations. The place is a national landmark.

      • Guest

        Thank you for your snarky, under-handed, douchebaggy observations. Now go back to mom’s basement.

        • Tracy Klatke

          Seriously? Only douchebags use the, “mom’s basement” line. It’s just a man’s opinion for chriztsake.

    • Leeza

      Was that a compliment sandwich?

  • wscaddie56

    This is insanely sad. I’d like to thank nye’s for all the great memories, and is also like to state Dan is likely the best bartender in Minneapolis and will be sorely missed.

  • Chris R

    This is crazy. I hope they put it up for sale…

  • Guest


    • Brian Wene

      I Agree Whole-heartedly!!

  • StephanieAndDavid

    I am so sad to hear of this. This is a national treasure. Will someone come in and buy it then keep it as it is?

  • pablo blanco

    Dad drank my college fund in Nyes. in fact, Phil remembered what he drank 30 years later when my sister and I took him for birthday lunch a few years back. All that aside, it seeMs like a community ownership model could be interesting.

  • Barbara Dickerson Roth

    Please say it is NOT true. We love it there. NE won’t be the same.

  • Anthony Thompson

    Another landmark bites the dust. But this is being handled in a considerate way by it’s owners. And, who knows, someone could step forward to save it in the interim.

  • Kevin Kampa

    My grandfather, Richard Schultz played the accordion and sax for most my life with Ruth Adams worlds most dangerous polka band. He is past on now, I miss him. The humor and laughter he brought all us, and great memories. Thank you Nye’s for providing him a place to play, which he loved so much. Nye’s will always be around in spirit.

  • MagnetDude

    So sad! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6V5wud8h3X0 It will be missed by so many!

  • Jim Dickbutt

    Who cares. All I ever do is drive by the place. I’m sure it was great at some point but obviously all you people who are whining never go there anymore or don’t go there nearly as much.

    • Ela Rie

      Then why feel the need to comment such douchebaggery?

    • StephanieAndDavid

      Why the mean comment? What satisfaction does it get you to be mean, to be a bully?

  • angela

    Couldn’t there be a way for us to help raise the funds to help out a local business like this? It’s small bars like this is what gives MN it’s name in the lights. Instead of giving to the higher corporations that will most likely buy this place out, we can do something to help them stay in business!!!

    • http://smallknot.com can do exactly this. Cool startup out of NYC that helps you support local businesses.

      However, Nye’s has to *want* to be helped first which may not be the case.

      • Ela Rie

        Sad to see a business such as Nyes to just, more or less so…”give up” . I’ll keep that link handy though! Thanks! !

  • Paul

    The place is packed every time I go. Surprising that they are struggling.

    • Tracy Klatke

      Something tells me they’re NOT struggling. Someone wants to knock it down and put up a parking lot OR wait, maybe some very overpriced ‘condos’.

  • Nooooooo! I made many treasured friends at Nye’s when Jon de Vaal played piano there and we all showed up there to sing three nights a week. Now I live in Mexico and I get back to Minneapolis once or twice a year, and always stop there for dinner and a song or two. It won’t be the same town without Nye’s. :'(

  • Joe Lanz

    No surprise. Tony Jacobs fired me 20 years ago when he took over bar. I was A1 bartender honest guy 5 years. He could give a shit. How can u screw up best bar 2006 to close…..dipshits

  • Danny

    I think there’s millions of people that have their stories about Nye’s. I haven’t been there in years but there was a time that was stomping grounds. I hope that Nye’s takes a note from Walter White, and goes out in style and leaves room for the legends to last forever. Great Job to everyone who’s contributed making Nye’s such a local treasure.

  • Angie

    Some real great memories there.
    It’s a place I conquered my fear and sang my first karaoke song. I’ll never forget that feeling.
    Thanks for the warm service over the years. Kindest wishes and warmest hugs.

  • Seamus

    Damn, another great one bites the dust. I’m hoping someone/thing can swoop in and preserve this landmark. Keeping optimistic, there is time and First Avenue was saved some years back. Prost, Nye’s!

  • Philip

    Maybe they need to call John Taffer and Bar Rescue