Happy Gnome closing?

Discussion in 'US - Midwest' started by cmannes, Dec 16, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (355) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota

  2. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (12,669) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

  3. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (170) Jan 9, 2011 Ohio
    Trader

    Well that sucks. Used to visit frequently when I lived in highland and still made it a point to stop in when I have time and I'm in the area.

    Last time I was in there was a few months ago. Definitely going to stop in before the 22nd. Hopefully all the employees land on their feet.
     
    REVZEB and islay like this.
  4. islay

    islay Disciple (342) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Confirmed that it's closing, with employees understanding that the closure will be permanent. Last day of service is Sunday, 12-22-19. I'm told Augustine's (same ownership) is closing as well; I'm not sure if that one has the same closing date. I don't know the reason for the closure or plans (if any) by ownership or for the space.

    It's a sad development for the local beer scene and for St. Paul. I've long considered The Happy Gnome one of the two beer bars that "matter" in the Twin Cities, the other being Republic (which The Happy Gnome predated by half a decade, 2006 versus 2011). I have many fond memories of The Happy Gnome, mostly from before the time that craft beer (beyond Summit EPA) was ubiquitous in Minnesota bars, including meeting there to help plan the 2007 RateBeer Summer Gathering as well as the first-ever release of Fulton beer in 2009.
     
    ChicagoJ, pudgym29, FonyBones and 6 others like this.
  5. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (12,669) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

    Too bad loved the bar in the winter and outdoor porch/seating in the summer. One of the 1st that i remember back in the day to have Cantillon Kegs.
     
    islay likes this.
  6. Windvaner

    Windvaner Initiate (54) Nov 7, 2014 Minnesota

    Really sad development , these are the kind of places that are essential to the beer scene here and to the cities ...can’t believe Augustine’s is going down with it too , another great spot.
     
  7. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (5,393) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    When I lived in St. Paul we used to go frequently, but moving to the suburbs, along with the premium pricing, means we go maybe once or twice a year. But always sad to see a pioneer drop by the side of the road. The Gnome will be missed.
     
  8. drunk_gnome

    drunk_gnome Initiate (69) Sep 20, 2014 Minnesota

    Well shit. Considering I was drinking there when I created this damn account, I feel like I should probably change the name.
     
    Harrison8, maximum12 and Jaycase like this.
  9. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (355) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota

    I kinda wondered when they ended the annual beer fest. But this kinda hurts. Back “in the day” when I found beer, they were the place to go. I remember going with a group and the waitress gently mocking one of our group when he asked for a bud light. Damn, change is hard.
     
    Windvaner likes this.
  10. islay

    islay Disciple (342) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    The Pioneer Press has an article on the closure. It doesn't mention that Augustine's also is closing and if anything implies that it's staying open. The quote below makes it sound as though The Happy Gnome closing is a site-specific issue (although veteran watchers of business openings and closings know there's often more to the story than the public statements imply). I was told directly by a seemingly non-disgruntled current Happy Gnome employee that Augustine's would be closing too, but I'm less certain of that claim now (possibly an internal misunderstanding). My apologies if that's not the case, and I certainly hope The Happy Gnome's legacy can live on a couple of miles west on Selby. I'll try to get clarification on the status of Augustine's and report back.

    “We are sad to announce that The Happy Gnome has decided not to renew our lease. Our last day in business will be Sunday, December 22. Thank you for 14 wonderful years of memories. Please stop by this week for one more pint with us!”

    Loving the throwback beer list from 2006:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. hopb4fg

    hopb4fg Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2016 Hawaii

    The Happy Gnome was ahead of their time, with beer prices...
     
  12. Syzygy00

    Syzygy00 Initiate (125) Nov 25, 2010 Minnesota
    Trader

    I do remember them being a pioneer of the nearly $20 pitcher. This was when you could get pitchers for $12-14 at other places. Still sad to see an OG beer place closing.
     
  13. eawolff99

    eawolff99 Meyvn (1,240) May 10, 2010 Minnesota
    Trader

    I’m going to head there tonight to say goodbye - anyone know if they’re tapping anything good? How busy it is?
     
  14. islay

    islay Disciple (342) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I'm not sure about tonight, but the majority of kegs (2/3?) had kicked as of Wednesday, and it was slammed. Still plenty of whisk(e)y as of Wednesday, if you're interested; maybe only 20% of the bottles had poured out.
     
  15. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (170) Jan 9, 2011 Ohio
    Trader

    Is the kitchen still open?
     
  16. OrionsHunt

    OrionsHunt Initiate (175) Jul 17, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    A lot of fond memories at the Gnome, very sad to hear.
     
  17. REVZEB

    REVZEB Poo-Bah (12,179) Mar 28, 2013 Illinois
    Society

    RIP Happy Gnome, visited when going to college in MN and always stopped in any time in the Twin Cities since. One of my favorite beer locales anywhere in the nation, will be dearly missed!
     
  18. barrybeerdog

    barrybeerdog Initiate (186) Aug 17, 2012 South Dakota

    I'm sure it's as simple as "business has fallen off", but are/were there any underling reasons for the Gnome closing? There hasn't been much talk on the reason for the closure.

    I visited a few times when in town for Wild games & always thought this was a true beer destination location.

    Is the popularity of tap rooms the cause for these great specialty beer bars closing? I know business 101, $$ in vs. $$ out, just wondering if there was more to it.
     
  19. drunk_gnome

    drunk_gnome Initiate (69) Sep 20, 2014 Minnesota

    I’ve heard another reason, but I have no way to verify and I’m not going to start throwing around an unsubstantiated rumor. If it’s true though, I can certainly understand.
     
  20. MNPikey

    MNPikey Devotee (448) Feb 27, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    Happy Gnome used to be owned by the same individual that owned Busters on 28th. Nick Miller I believe? I think it was sold to Tony Anderson around 2009 who also opened St Augustine's in 2016.
     
  21. Otis32

    Otis32 Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 Minnesota

    When it comes to beer in St. Paul over the last 2-3 I have certainly looked at various taproom menus first before thinking Gnome. Food is decent but not my 1st thought when in St. Paul either.....
     
  22. doner24

    doner24 Initiate (93) Apr 16, 2013 Minnesota

    I’ve heard that the other restaurant the owner had was hemorrhaging money, and Happy Gnome was the cash crutch that could only hold it up so long.
     
  23. cmannes

    cmannes Disciple (355) Mar 15, 2009 Minnesota

  24. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (12,669) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

  25. MNPikey

    MNPikey Devotee (448) Feb 27, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    After original owner sold in 2010 he quickly declared bankruptcy also. Along time coming I guess for the establishment to finally close for good...
     
  26. BeerDrinkinGuy

    BeerDrinkinGuy Initiate (55) Nov 2, 2018 Minnesota

    As they say now days about restaurants operating on a thin margin, I do have to say every place I go to now it almost at luxury prices.
    I will miss this place as it was one of my first craft beer experiences back in the mid 2000's. But then again I used to go here when it was Chang OHaras and drink Summit EPA's also.
     
    gudbrande likes this.
  27. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (517) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    What do you mean by this post? The original owner declared bankruptcy, so it was inevitable that the person who bought it would as well? I guess I don’t know what the previous owners bankruptcy has to do with the current owners bankruptcy.
     
    MNBeer1017 likes this.
  28. gudbrande

    gudbrande Zealot (527) Jul 10, 2009 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    That place was fun when it was Chang's, had my groom's dinner upstairs there. Knew one of the bartenders too so that probably had something to do with it...
     
  29. MNPikey

    MNPikey Devotee (448) Feb 27, 2011 Minnesota
    Trader

    Two owners of the SAME restaurant. Both declare bankruptcy over unpaid debts related to said restaurant. Common theme = Happy Gnome. But, the Happy Gnome had nothing to do with it?

     
  30. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (517) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    I still don’t understand your point. Also, how do you know that both owners declared bankruptcy over unpaid debt related to the Happy Gnome? What is your source for this information?
     
    MNBeer1017 likes this.
  31. JMN44

    JMN44 Initiate (179) Sep 19, 2013 Minnesota

    Unless you have inside info that the Happy Gnome was doing fine financially I’m not sure why you are questioning this. The bankruptcy filing was done for the Happy Gnome. It was not a personal bankruptcy filing so I think it’s pretty safe to assume the business wasn’t doing well. Also it could have been sold if it was profitable.
     
  32. Chaz

    Chaz Poo-Bah (2,277) Feb 3, 2002 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    This is hands down the best speculative thread of the year. Well done, all!
     
    ElmerLovejoy likes this.
  33. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (517) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    I’m just trying to figure out what the previous owners bankruptcy has to do with the current owners bankruptcy. Also, I don’t have any definitive answer to why the Gnome closed, but the theory that Augustine’s took the Gnome down is highly likely.
     
  34. edbeered

    edbeered Devotee (457) Oct 29, 2004 Minnesota

    What I don't understand is why Augustine's is still open if it was the problem. Wouldn't you think that the owner would close the worse performing restaurant and leave open the better one? There must be more to this story than we know.
     
  35. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (517) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    Good point.
     
    edbeered likes this.
  36. Bunuelian

    Bunuelian Champion (841) Mar 22, 2013 Minnesota
    Trader

    Don't you guys get it?! He's saying the building is CURSED!!!!
     
    jonbonfondle and burlyb like this.
  37. Nuts4Barrel-aged

    Nuts4Barrel-aged Initiate (118) Dec 14, 2016 Minnesota
    Trader

    I really liked the Happy Gnome and was super bummed to see it go. I didn’t make it there more than a couple times a year I guess. I think it kind of boils down to prices. I think of the Red Cow locations. They have a pretty solid ever changing tap list and a great food menu. For the most part I could get out of there with a better experience for a few less dollars. There are so many new restaurants and tap rooms where people are going to try new beers/food that a place like the Happy Gnome just wasn’t going to hold up.
     
  38. Douggo

    Douggo Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2009 Minnesota

    I just came in here to tell you guys that I don't know why it closed.
     
  39. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (12,669) Apr 18, 2007 Florida
    Society Trader

    Well that's speculative.
     
  40. Douggo

    Douggo Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2009 Minnesota

    FACT!
     
    pudgym29 likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.