The Star Tribune’s five-block move to 225 Sixth St. South came 50 years too late in my opinion. Of course, there wasn’t a spiffy office tower in which to occupy a couple of floors back then, but being located at this address certainly would have made the race to last call for the Morning Tribune’s sports staff much less hectic in the mid-‘60s.
I was a copy boy in that department at that time. Although technically not of drinking age, I had developed a taste for beer.
The Court Bar was the saloon that the night sports crew was determined to reach before the clock struck 1 a.m., and no more orders were accepted.
The Little Wagon was closer and more notorious as a newspaper bar, but indications were that the Wagon had a more-stringent view as to when a clock actually had reached 1 a.m.
Back at Tribune sports, the copy editors sat on the rim of a large desk with a slot cut into it. Inside that slot, sat the person in charge of making up the sports pages for the next morning’s edition. He was the “slot man’’ and made the decisions on what display articles would receive, and what the limits would be on length.
The Tribune sports editor of the time – some guy named Hartman (danged if I know whatever happened to him) – would make his desires on display known to the slot man, and those were followed to a degree, if not to a tee.
Bob Sorensen was the slot man on many nights. He was known to all as “Sorehead,’’ even though he was far from that.
If you were to ask me the one person most-influential in my desire to become a newspaperman, it would be Sorehead, for the casual, “this beating deadline stuff is fun’’ attitude that he brought when the phones were ringing, the copy was arriving and chaos reigned all around him.
Sorensen also was in charge of telling the copy readers and copy boys that the final edition was wrapped up, and he was ready to lead the charge to The Court.
Generally, this would occur around 12:50 a.m., and to the parking lot we would go, and drive to to the saloon at 212 Seventh St. South. There was no problem parking on the street, right in front, at that time of night (OK, morning).
The Court had a rich dark beer on tap. A Murray County boy had never seen such a thing, but it was very tasty and as I recall, they didn’t really sweep us out of the bar until around 2 a.m.
After leaving the Tribune, first for Duluth and then St. Cloud, I remained loyal to The Court when visiting downtown Minneapolis. One evening, three of us from the St. Cloud Times – the boss, Mike Augustin, and ace reporter Frank Hyland, and me – decided to offer blanket coverage of an appearance by St. Cloud Cathedral in the state Catholic/private school basketball tournament.
We headed for The Court after typing our articles. We were met there by my brother, Mr. Wonderful. It was a busy night at the bar, as I recall, and for some reason, our foursome became overly loud in arguing over a sports matter.
I was the most-rational person in the foursome, which in those days was not a positive endorsement for others in the group.
The Court had a bouncer that night … none other than Kenny Jay, the Sodbuster of AWA Wrestling lore. Kenny told us to quiet down or leave. We failed the test, and a few minutes later, Kenny told us to leave.
The order wasn’t followed with haste, and Kenny used some tough love to get the four of us out the door.
Imagine my surprise this week, when I walked out the back door of the office tower that houses the Strib’s new headquarters, and ran almost smack dab into The Court.
It’s called Dan Kelly’s Pub now, but to me it always will be The Court, the place where The Sodbuster went 4-0 for the only time in his career.