Palmer’s has been a West Bank institution since 1906, a community center with a kick, a place that wears its history proudly. Everyone is welcome here.
Every day inside this little bar is an adventure. You never know who’s going to walk through the front door. It continues to be a destination for those in search of the old West Bank, folks looking to visit one of the oldest continually operated bars in Minneapolis, and those wanting to escape the usual, generic happy hour spots.
Palmer’s has a soul—a history in danger of being lost to old age—but, for now, it remains, and we’ll work to preserve as much of it as possible. Few photos exist of the bar from generations ago, but there are a couple, and they’re incredible. Have a look around next time you’re in. Ask one of the old timers sitting at the bar for a story. Everyone here has a few…
In 1906, the bar was owned by the Minneapolis Brewing Company (predecessor to Grain Belt Brewery) and was a second home to dock, rail and lumber workers; boat crews, immigrants, gadflies and transients long before Prohibition was ushered into law.
Palmer’s still maintains the original trademark red and white tile floor familiar to privately-owned Grain Belt beer halls of the era. The location was also one of the first to tap a legal keg upon its repeal (if in fact it ever stopped). Rumor has it there was a tunnel connecting Palmer’s to the 5 Corners Saloon across the street, now The Nomad World Pub. The location has been a bar ever since, with the Palmer’s name on the door for well over 50 years.
Having survived prohibition, bootlegging, cathouse raids (in the 1930’s there was a brothel upstairs) two World Wars, the 50’s, the smoking ban, disco, Jesse, two Bush presidencies, the mullet, the advent of AA and Starbucks, not to mention various urban renewal projects (e.g. the bridge to nowhere), Palmer’s is still a proud second home to many a working Twin Cities man and woman.
Regulars include university students, nurses, cabbies, hippies and hipsters, musicians, anarchists, poets and artists, as well as a rare breed of professional barfly—some of whom served as extras in a scene from Bukowski’s Factotum, which was filmed at the bar. Palmer’s has been described as: a church for down and outers and those who romanticize them, a rare place where high and low rub elbows—bums and poets, thieves and slumming celebrities.
At Palmer’s, you’ll always find a familiar face, an interesting conversation, and the best drink values in the Twin Cities. We host karaoke on Mondays, a free-form Hippenanny every Wednesday around 5, and a variety of live music every other night of the week.
We promise your visit will be memorable.