Friday, September 16, 2005

Home Again Home Again, Kind Of

Well, not really home home, but I did grow up in Minneapolis and for many years made the first bar I stopped at my home away from home.

787) Lyles

Friends of mine live just two short blocks away from this block that is on the corner of 20th and Hennepin, and many is the night that we would close this place up at 1:00 A.M. and then toddle over there to order a pizza or two and play some cards or a bit of table tennis. This was home away from home for over ten years back in the early seventies. Whew, sometimes I don’t know how we all, or at least most of us, survived. It must have been the free pickled herring and cheese and crackers that they served during happy hour.

The place has been remodeled a few times since back in the day, but not so much that I don’t recognize it. They did redo the front though and the old Lyle’s sign is gone replace with, in my mind at least, a much less classy one. There is an elongated rectangular bar with a wood grained Formica top and a plastic wood-grained paneled front with a rough wood foot rest. The bar stools are chromed with round dark red seats. Nothing fancy inside the rectangle, just shelves and coolers set below the bar. There are two beer stations on the bar with a total of 19 spigots. Not a bad selection of beers and a welcome change from the somewhat mundane domestic stuff I was drinking up north.

The bartender, Lisa, was very nice and we chatted a bit about the old days that only I remembered.

Lisa, The Nice And Young Bartender

Along one wall is a series of ledges that match the bar top with stools in front of them. Bright red booths with dark brown tables line two other walls, one of which is actually a partition that separates the bar area from a small dining area with more booths and a few tables.

In the back is a two level game room with a couple of red felt covered pool tables, a foosball machine, Sopranos and a Time Machine pinball machines, an electronic dartboard, a Madden Football machine, a Golden Tee golf machine, a Big Buck Hunter II machine and a Silver Strike bowling machine. There were also three television, one was a fairly large rear projection affair. When I was a kid we just had one green felt covered pool table, a couple of pinball machines, and no television back here.

The walls in all the rooms are pretty much covered in nothing but beers signs and some nice mirrors, courtesy of beer companies. In the front though there is a large picture of the original founder of this place, one Lyle W. Dorrian.

I had a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

788) Red Dragon

This is another place that has been around for a long time, but not one that I frequented much. It is just a block over at 2116 Lyndale Avenue South. Donna, who I was staying with in International Falls, ran into the bartender, YoYo, at a shopping mall up there where YoYo helping out the owner of one of the shops. Somehow they got to talking and I got introduced and said I would stop by her place when I returned to Minneapolis and so I did.

YoYo And Bar Man Renewing Our Acquaintence

This is a dark place with a fairly small bar with a black Formica top and a dark and light patterned edging that separated it from a black wood arm rest. The front felt like black carpet and there was a dark red brick foot rest. Dark wood bar chairs had red seats and backs. Small red Chinese lanterns and small white Christmas lights ringed the pagoda-like overhang above the bar. The wall behind the bar was red and gold patterned tiles that had an Asian motif to the design. There were also three small rectangular mirrors. Two lights hang behind the bar and they look like they are enclosed in small metal bird cages. But maybe they are dragon cages because a scrawny red dragon lurks outside of one of them. An assortment of glasses hang from racks under the overhang. Yo Yo said they are known for their exotic mixed drinks.

To the left of the bar are two booths with red benches and tan marble-like patterned topped tables. Two black panels with gold leaf-like patterns each have a yellow box-like stained glass lamp with green circles mounted on them. The panels sit under what look like cherry-wood arches. Opposite the bar are another couple of booths and gold patterned wallpaper. Two more of the same kind of lamps hang on the walls above the booths and a larger, unlit red Chinese lantern hangs above them. Ther rest of the wall has the same black and gold leaf-like patterned wallpaper. There are several round tables with wooden chairs. An ornate wooden carving that looks like a cabinet hangs from the ceiling. I expect it conceals lights, but if it does they were turned off. There is a good sized dining area in a room behind the bar.

I had a Summit Extra Pale Ale and headed on out to hook up with my friends Sandy and Rico at a softball game. Rico was pitching a double-header. What a guy. Well, after a long drive I ended up hitting two bars making 788 for the year and leaving 212 to go. Will I be able to hit my 800th bar before I leave Minneapolis? Stay tuned.


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