Viking Bar reopens on West Bank

The recently remodeled Viking Bar, which will reopen Wednesday, May 25, at 10am, after being closed for 10 years. // Photo by Nate Ryan for MPR

The recently remodeled Viking Bar, which will reopen Wednesday, May 25, at 10am, after being closed for 10 years. // Photo by Nate Ryan for MPR

Ten years after the “Gone Fishin” sign went up, the historic Viking Bar, in Minneapolis’ West Bank neighborhood, is set to reopen Wednesday, May 25, the establishment announced via press release.

The Viking Bar has a new set of owners, Patrick Johnston and Amy and Aaron Britt. They’ve been carefully restoring the bar, which is housed in an early-1900s brick building off the intersection of Cedar and Riverside Avenues, in order to return it to its former glory.

Viking Bar will once again host live music and dancing, and feature 16 beer taps, signature cocktails, and a wine list curated by Bill Summerville. It will also offer a menu of sandwiches, brats, and hotdogs. It plans to locally source much of its food and drink.

The Viking Bar’s unique, nostalgic venue is a neighborhood icon. In 1904, the Minneapolis Brewing Company built a two-story brick building and Fred G. Eckerstrom was issued a one-year liquor license for the location. The place served as a grocery store during Prohibition and reopened as a tavern in 1935. In the 1990s, it became a destination for blues aficionados. Previous owners, the Nelson family, owned the bar for over three decades.

Johnston and Britt say they are committed to becoming active contributors to the enriched West Bank neighborhood and honoring the history of The Viking Bar. In order to re-open the Viking as a bar and obtain new licenses, however, they had to completely remodel the bathrooms and entrance, and add a compact commercial kitchen to an unfinished basement that had previously only been used to store kegs and old barstools, reports The Current.

While they were at it, they decked out the stage with new sound and lighting equipment, expanded the back bar’s storage, added flat-screen TVs above the bar and an outdoor patio, and removed a drop ceiling to expose the turn-of-the-century building’s original tin tiles.

Much of the original finishings, furniture, and décor still remain, though, including the original Grain Belt tile floors.

The Viking Bar will be open from 10am–2am daily, and provide live music at least four nights a week. A jukebox featuring Minneapolis sound, rock, soul, and funk will round out the entertainment.

The Memorial Day weekend line-up includes Fran Banish, Scot Coogan (of Ace Frehley), and Sean Koos (of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to perform).

More booked shows and photos of the refurbished Viking Bar can be found here.

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