Odds are good we'll do at least some of that drinking as we send off Grumpy's Downtown and O'Gara's Bar & Grill; this Saturday marks the last last call for both Twin Cities institutions. (You may have said your boozy goodbyes already -- the former announced it would bow out in June, the latter, in March.)
The culprit behind each departure? Redevelopment. An eight-story apartment building is planned for the address that was home to downtown's dive-y punk favorite for the last 20 years; across the river, the 77-year-old O'Gara's is being converted into a mixed-use building with housing and a co-working center. The plan right now is to have 163 apartments and 205 parking spaces.
"We appreciate the hell out of 20 years of support from the area and we would have gladly stuck around for 20 more, but to be blunt, the way tastes are changing downtown we would have maybe made it a couple more years by the skin of our teeth," Grumpy's owners wrote back in June. "You all know the demographic shift around these parts is massive, and our declining sales bear that out."
The sudsy silver lining is that both bars will live on, at least kind of. As previously reported, O'Gara's will return to the ground floor of its current address once the apartments are built, though it'll only be about a quarter of its original size. “We are not closing,” the O’Gara’s crew has said, according to the Pioneer Press. “We are reinventing ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Grumpy's is survived by its siblings in Northeast and Roseville. And although the bar itself isn't returning to Washington Avenue, echoes will remain: Owners are working with developers to open a new Ox Op -- the art gallery from Grumpy's owner Tom Hazelmyer -- in the updated building.