Hola amigos, it’s been a while since I last hollered at you. I’m spelling “weekend” like that for now on because it’s cool. Search it if you want. On the verge of the year’s first thunderstorm here in Lowertown. The sky is lighting up as I strike these keys. Soon, the refuse of the Rossmor parking lot will be blowing through the streets (it’s windy too).
15 minutes before first T-storm of the season
Some Lowertown updates: The pawn shop on Ninth and Robert Streets, American Pawn Shop, has shuttered its doors. Just walked by it an hour ago and noticed *everything* cleared out of there. It was empty. Must have moved out Sunday after St. Patrick’s Day. Never went in there. Don’t think they advertised or even had a website. Could only find an unclaimed Yelp page.
Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but curiosity got the best of me and I walked down to Eagle Street Grill to try and get a beer. Well I couldn’t get a beer, and what did I actually expect? Too late did I figure this out, but duh, the neighborhood crowds are in the neighborhoods. Every hockey hooligan from the five-state area was going to be downtown because why venture to Snelling Avenue or even just up the hill? The mob at Eagle Street was soul-less, scowling, intimidating and brimming with drunken violence – and the staff was equally surly and unfriendly because it had to be.
More fun was Black Sheep Pizza beforehand. My college roommate and his fiancee came down on the 3 bus from their Como apartment and we got some pizza. We snatched some bar seats shortly after the parade let out, and as we went through our pizza and beers (try the Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout, to me a less intense Surly Bender), we became slowly surrounded by parade-goers looking for a pint. Soon, the manager was in the weeds (restaurant industry slang for being so busy you aren’t able to distinguish what is the most pressing task at hand). About 15 minutes later, the husband-wife owner team shows up. Colleen began tending bar and her husband (didn’t catch his name, is it Jordan?) was making pizzas on the cook line. That’s some locally owned dedication I can get behind. We weren’t charged for our four beers because “they came out too slow.” I tipped to make up for it.
My happy place
OK, around 8:15 on Monday night here. I need some rain to cool things off. Early spring allergies combined with a Rossmor HVAC that hasn’t yet switched to AC made me slightly miserable over this past weekend. Sitting here in my boxers, sweating it out. And it’s March. In Minnesota.
It’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow in St. Paul, and for the first time since moving downtown, the drinking holiday falls on a weekend.
2012 St. Paul St. Patrick's Day parade route
Other St. Paul St. Patty’s Day experiences: Last year I was on a police ride-along up in Circle Pines and Lexington because I thought things might be crazy or my cop would bust a drunk or two. Turned into quiet night, went home at 10 p.m.
Year before I think it was nice out – but not this nice – it was around 40 degrees and a Wednesday night. On a quick jog some group of rabble-rousers were carousing on what looked to be a Vulcan firetruck down Kellogg Boulevard. Yeah it wasn’t winter carnival time, but the Vulcan have fun year-round.
So what the/where the heck should I do/go this year? I’m wary of the suburban hordes who will surely descend on West Seventh. Yesterday Eagle Street Grill had two large outside tents set up in what was its parking lot, now designated for green beer consumption. A sign at the door said it was 2-for-1s all day in the tent. That was Thursday. Might be a different deal Saturday, when area bars make enough money on one day of sales to sustain themselves for the next three months alone.
How about something low-key? Will the former Gallivan’s, now American Burger Bar, outfit itself into a makeshift Irish pub? What will Kelly’s Depot look like in deep Lowertown? Low-key might be nowhere to be found Saturday.
But yet, thank you, suburban hockey hordes. Your one day of downtown patronage will keep my favorite walking distance restaurants and pubs open for hopefully the foreseeable future.
You know those giant billboards visible from I-35E southbound as you drive by downtown St. Paul? Yeah, one has a digital clock underneath it that *never* has the correct time? And it’s usually advertising Michelob Golden Light?
According to a friend running for the Rossmor Board of Directors, our owners association doesn’t receive any revenues from ad sales on those creaking metal behemoths. Why is this bad? Apparently they are old and poorly maintained (why is the time always wrong dammit?), and when the strong winds blow, supports connected to the building are actually slowly ripping away the brick on the rooftops.
Sure, the birds and bats love to congregate there for twilight feeding feasts, but an urban animal habitat isn’t fair deal for destruction of my home : )
Fact: Association dues have increased by more than 30 percent in the three years I’ve lived in Lowertown. Once the roof gives way, I might be out of here.
Councilman Dave Thune, maybe we should consider beautifying the Rossmor and ridding it of the billboards. Or at least, is there any way to explore potential revenue splits from advertising on the boards to help mitigate any realized/potential damage to the roof?