Liquor Lyle's, the proudly seedy Hennepin Avenue dive bar in south Minneapolis, is up for sale for the first time in nearly a half-century, one of the owners said Wednesday.
Ken Meshbesher said that if "somebody comes up with a figure, we'll sell it. We haven't set a price. That's as far as we are."
Meshbesher said he prefers that any future ownership continue operating the bar as Lyle's. It has been closed since the coronavirus pandemic set in a year ago and will remain that way until it is sold. News of the sale was first reported by Axios.
"I'd like to have it maintained; that's part of it," he said. "We consider it kind of an iconic place."
He said the reopening under COVID-19 restrictions really wasn't feasible.
"It's not the type of bar where you can open it partway," Meshbesher said. "There's no really distance [between people] in that bar."
The windowless bar with the throwback red-vinyl seats and look-at-me neon exterior opened back in 1963 by Lyle Dorrian, a longtime member of the Metropolitan Sports Area Commission who helped drum up $1.2 million in bond sales to build Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington.
Dorrian, who died in 1991 at age 82, sold the bar in 1973 to a group that included Meshbesher and his brother, noted attorney Ron Meshbesher, and Russell Spence. Ron Meshbesher died in 2018.
The Lowry Hill East neighborhood nightspot attracted an array of clientele, whether their collars were blue or white.
Known elbow benders have included onetime KARE 11 anchor Paul Magers, musicians Paul Metsa and Laurie Lindeen, and actor-comedian Tom Arnold.
An Irish wake was held there for New York Times journalist David Carr, who died in 2015.
The lack of windows certainly brought a consistency to the interior environment. Noon or midnight, the drinking and dining space never gave away the time.
And speaking of drinks, Lyle's put the happy in happy hour, with 2-for-1 drink specials and other deals unrivaled in the Twin Cities.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482