One of the oldest and most eclectic barrooms in Minneapolis likely won't be a bar anymore come February.
The owners of Part Wolf — in the historic two-story West Bank building that previously housed the Nomad World Pub and 5 Corners Saloon — announced Tuesday they are closing their music and sports bar at the end of January following a series of final shindigs, including soccer-viewing parties and a femme dance night.
As popular for bocce ball tournaments and live music as for soccer matches and dance events, Part Wolf picked up where the Nomad left off in 2019. Thanks to the pandemic, though, it never had the chance to go much further than that.
"We will be turning off the music one last time on 1/28," Part Wolf's team posted on its Facebook page Tuesday. "We want to thank everyone who has contributed to this amazing community and space. You have made us a better version of ourselves than we ever imagined."
In an e-mail to the Star Tribune, co-owner Josh Mandelman didn't directly blame COVID, but made it clear that he and wife/partner Lyssa Washington have been struggling to operate the place during COVID and the other duress of 2020 and 2021.
"With the uncertainty and quick pivots the past two-plus years have thrust upon everyone, we made the difficult, but necessary, decision that we needed to focus on our family," said Mandelman, who has an 8-year-old son at home. "We had some key members of the team relocate, and we just couldn't sustain the support the staff, community and building they deserve."
They're selling the building and he's "uncertain" what the as-yet-unidentified buyers intend to do with the place. "Hopefully [it's] something integral, impactful and beneficial to a really, really important community and neighborhood in the Twin Cities," he said, referring to the immigrant-heavy Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.
The brick building, at 501 Cedar Av. S., was built in 1902 and is believed to have one of the oldest liquor licenses in the city.
Some of the staff and regulars at Part Wolf said it will become a pharmacy. That includes the Tottenham-related soccer fan organization Minneapolis Spurs — which sent out a mournful tweet urging supporters to come out for a final match there Sunday (Tottenham vs. Chelsea, 10:30 a.m.).
"This will not change our community, only where we meet," Spurs organizers wrote, thanking both the Part Wolf and Nomad Pub staff for "their tireless commitment to us as a group over the past 13 years."
A landmark of the old West Bank blues scene when it was the 5 Corners, the bar became a haven for hip-hop, metal and none-of-the-above music acts when it was transformed into the Nomad in 2005. Lizzo even hosted karaoke there in the early 2010s.
Musicians and music fans around the Twin Cities expressed disappointment over the news.
"The Minneapolis music scene is taking a hit with this one," rapper Nic "Big Wiz" Swisher posted. "It just won't be the same."
Sound engineer Matt Johnson, who now works at the Turf Club, wrote, "Can't help but think of all the great people I met and lost while coming there over the decades."
The final event at Part Wolf will be the "Bimbogate 2022" dance party on Jan. 28. Yep, the place was one-of-a-kind.