The Spot Bar dates to 1885.
The Spot Bar claims to be even older, having been established in 1885 as the Wittmer Saloon. Except for a five-year period during the Great Depression and the end of Prohibition when the place closed for five years, it has been in continuous operation. Even during most of Prohibition, the place remained open and slung “soft” drinks.
The Spot Bar could be your local dive bar if you didn’t know any better. Located in a middle class neighborhood on the West Side of St. Paul, the Spot Bar occupies what looks like three houses that, when viewed from the street, are laid together front to back and go from small to medium to large. Almost like a house version of those Russian Matryoshka dolls.
The smaller of these houses was used as residences by early owners of the establishment.
The inside is pretty nondescript, with a few tables and stools at the bar. Whiskey and PBR tall boys seem to be the drinks of choice and we certainly couldn’t complain about the the pours, which were strong and served quickly.
The straightforward and unpretentious nature of the Spot Bar and its dedication to simply providing a neighborhood watering hole definitely showed why it has been around since 1885. And you weekend historians out there will be happy to note that it does have some old newspaper clippings on the walls that talk about its history.
Neumann’s Bar dates back to 1887.
Neumann’s Bar is the bar that all of the oldest bar sites claim is the oldest in Minnesota. But as we’ve seen in other states, just because they say it is so doesn’t mean it is.
Neumann’s Bar does have one major thing going for it — it has the best documentation showing that it has been in continuous operation since 1887. It even continued to sling drinks during the Prohibition by operating as a speakeasy on its second floor. And it remains a very popular, kicking place to this day.
Located in a trendy section of North St. Paul, Neumann’s is clearly a favorite haunt of the locals. The bar is long, filled with memorabilia and mounted bucks, and is stocked with taps for old American favorites such as Hamm’s, 90 Shilling, and Miller Lite.
Live music is on the regular and on the day we were there it was packed with people of all generations. Finding a little spot at the bar to shimmy up to was challenging. But we got a place, ordered some tacos and Hamm’s draft, and paid with cash as is required. And made a few friends, of course, because Minnesotans are friendly people.