You can’t help but feel the history when you walk through the doors of Neumann’s Bar in North Saint Paul. Neumann’s has a unique distinction: It’s the oldest, continually active bar in the state of Minnesota. Scattered throughout the bar are artifacts that mark the establishment’s 130-year history, including birdhouses, mounted animal heads and old photos of previous owners. Add a collection of live bullfrogs into the mix, and you end up with a watering hole that’s part museum, part zoo and 100 percent delightful.
Q&A with Neumann’s former owner, Mike Brown
Question: Is there anything at Neumann’s that hasn’t changed since its opening back in 1887?
Mike Brown: The building itself looks pretty much like it did. The bar front, bar back, tin ceiling and all the fixtures are exactly the same as it was a hundred years ago.
Question: Back in the 1920s, speakeasies were known for hosting gangsters: Was that the case for Neumann’s?
Mike Brown: A lot of gangsters from Chicago, Detroit and out East would come to Saint Paul. Lake Phalen and White Bear Lake used to have tourist cabins, and gangsters from out East would hang in the area, and they found their way to Neumann’s.
Question: Did Neumann’s ever get caught serving alcohol during Prohibition?
Mike Brown: An interesting fact about Prohibition and Neumann’s and running a speakeasy upstairs: They did get caught. A person working for Bill Neumann took the wrap for Mr. Neumann and went to jail.
Love stories about “the oldest” this or that? We’ve got ’em in spades: