New taprooms and microbreweries seem to open in the city every week in this era of beer obsession. I learned this week that it’s not the first beer boom in the city that brought the world Grain Belt and Gluek’s.
Next week, the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission will consider a developer’s request to demolish a brick building on the corner of 15th Avenue and 6th Street south, in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. It’s in the way of Currie Park Development LLC’s plan to build a six-story, 260-unit apartment complex called Currie Park Lofts.
The developer needs permission from the city to demolish a “historic resource.” Built in 1903, the Gluek Brewing Tied House looks like many corner commercial buildings of the era – a modest but elegant brick façade and a corner entrance marked by a metal column. But in the thinning fabric of old buildings in this corner of the city, the building is a link to the neighborhood’s frothy history.
A report prepared by city planning staff describes why they want to save 1500 6th St. S. from the wrecking ball. The old building was one of dozens of bars built by breweries, in this case the Gluek Brewing Co. (est. 1857). They were called “tied houses” – presumably because they were “tied” to the brewery by ownership or contract, rather than denoting a place where a guy can tie one on.
The report, which cites Doug Hoverson’s 2007 book of Minnesota beer history “Land of Amber Waters,” indicates that in 1908, Gluek controlled 86 of the city’s 432 saloons, and two other breweries controlled another 169.
For decades, the Tied House at 15th and 6th operated as a bar and later a café and jazz club called the Rainbow Gallery, the report said. While urban redevelopment and highway construction have eliminated most of the old buildings around it, the old Gluek saloon is one of three small reminders of the era when it was beer central – across the street is the much more flamboyant former headquarters of John Gund Brewing Co. (1904); now Quba Restaurant and Coffee; and across the light rail tracks is the apparently abandoned former Minneapolis Brewing Co. Saloon (1899).
The report points out other examples of former tied houses that remain in the city: among them is 923 Washington Av. N., current home of Clubhouse Jäger, and 217-219 3rd Av. N., home of the Monte Carlo. Because of this building's significance, the staff recommends preserving the old Gluek tied house, possibly by incorporating it into the new development.
A public hearing on the demolition request is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24, at 4:30 p.m., in room 317 in City Hall.