A swift and unanticipated end has come to Pracna, the restaurant and bar that opened in the late 19th century along historic St. Anthony Main, fell victim to Prohibition and was revived in the 1970s.
“Pracna on Main is closed,” reads the printed note on plain white paper taped to the front door of the business that billed itself as “the oldest restaurant on the oldest street in Minneapolis.”
Its website and social media stream have also disappeared.
Pracna’s decor includes original brick walls, arched entries, stained glass and a high ceiling. When the weather allowed, diners could sit on the patio in front and enjoy the view of the Minneapolis skyline across the Mississippi River.
In nods to Pracna’s historic setting on Main Street SE., where some buildings date to the 1850s, the menu offered a “Cobblestone” meatloaf dinner, “our famous” turkey sandwich on rye dubbed “The 1890,” and a “1919 Root Beer Float.”
Pracna’s rapid shuttering comes barely a month after another legendary drinking and dining nightspot in the neighborhood, Nye’s Polonaise Room, announced it would be closing in 2015.
Pracna opened in 1890 in a partnership with Frank Pracna and the Minneapolis Brewing Co., brewers of Golden Grain Belt beers.
In 1909, Edward L. “Boney” Denell became owner, and renamed it Denell’s Bar, with Grain Belt maintaining financial control.
The start of Prohibition in 1919 doomed Denell’s and dozens of other saloons in the Twin Cities. Denell’s soon became a machine shop and also had a reputation as a “house of ill-repute.”
Prohibition’s repeal saw a return to the saloon business, but it struggled and the building resumed operating as a machine shop and also as a home to a mattress maker and a heating company.
After extensive restoration, Pracna was revived as a restaurant and bar in 1973 by architect Peter Nelson Hall and partner Tom Hanson.