Bar Stories: Adventures in Alcohol

This page is to let it all hang out. complain, moan, praise etc.

Bar Stories: Adventures in Alcohol

Postby Tremors » 11 Jan 2008, 10:30

Welcome to Bar Stories!

Suggested by Bigtime, "Bar Stories" is open to those with stories of drinks, drunks & other cocktail tales!

8)

How Much is That Bull Froggie in the Window?

Neumann's.

Image

The oldest, continually operated saloon in the state of Minnesota-or so they say. Someone had to mention it; I just figured I'd be the first.

To me, Neumann's means two things:

It was the place my friends and I went to for a couple of beers one spring afternoon after my mother's funeral luncheon. It was just us and the bartender in the ol' pub. For the next couple hours we regaled each other with Mom related stories. Being that she became a mother figure for all my friends, their girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, and even for people I didn't hang out with, we had more than a few tales to tell and laughs to share.

The other thing Neumann's meant to me was that it is a colorful landmark in North St. Paul. The bar usually has those black and chrome Harleys parked out front and those big a$$ed Bull Frogs in the window!
Last edited by Tremors on 28 Apr 2017, 13:57, edited 1 time in total.
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The beginning

Postby Bigtime » 15 Jan 2008, 00:25

Chapter one – the beginning
In the summer of 1962, I was 16 years old. I couldn’t wait to “grow up” and get away from my parents. I was going into my senior year in high school. My parents would not allow me to have a car yet, but I was able to use Dad’s 57 Plymouth Savoy when I really needed to get somewhere, but that did not happen often. I worked as a fry cook at a drive-in restaurant at 36 and 120 called “Mr Bigs”. We were open til 1:00 AM on the weekends, and since I was 16, I was able to work late. My parents kept pretty good tabs on me, and I was expected to be home 15 minutes after the restaurant closed. “Bigs” was a great place to work and make new friends. Some of the really hot chicks, girls from the local high schools, worked there as car hops and waitresses. A couple of "Miss No St Pauls”, a couple of them were teen models for big dept stores in Saint Paul, cheerleaders etc etc. It was a truly “beautiful” place to work. Most of these girls were going steady with older guys who owned really nice cars. Everything from 409 Chevy to 390 Fords, to older “perfect “ cars like a black 57 Chev convertible, a black 56 mercury 2 door, a pink and black Crown Victoria and a 55 Pontiac with (I think) a 454, 4 speed. There were many, many really nice cars. The older girls treated me like their special little brother (darn), and if I had the cash their boy friends would get us a case of what ever was cheap. Grain Belt Premium shorties were my favorite. Most everyone else had cars that worked there, so it would just be dropped off in someone car. Our favorite party place was a spot called ”the Hill”. It was out 36 to where you turn left to go to Mahtomedi I think it was called “Wildwood Road”. Anyhow you turned right instead of left, and went back up this big hill, back almost too where the freeway is now. If we parked up on the top we could see someone coming for a long time before they got to us. As the summer went on, I got to know some of these older “boyfriends”. Occasionally I would get a ride home, and soon I got to know more and more of the “older” crowd.
An older brother of one of the car hops came home on leave from the Navy. He was in his dress whites, when he can to “Bigs” to see his little sister. He had worked there a few years before, and it seemed that he knew everyone. As it turned out, it was raining when Bigs closed that night. I was going to just run home, I only lived a few block away, but they asked me if I wanted a ride? OK! Next thing I knew we were in downtown North Saint Paul. “Let go have a beer”? I said “I can’t go in there”. The sailor said, you look older, just stay by me. I did look older for 16, but had no idea that I could pull this off. I had been shaving since before I was a freshman, and had a pretty heavy 5 o’clock shadow by that time of night. Well as it turned out I am really glad it was late, almost closing time. Nobody told me that if the bar tender asked how old I was that I was supposed to say I was 16, and I could just have had a coke. “What’ll ya have” asked the bartender? He was an older gentleman with thick glasses and wore a white blousy shirt with a black “garter” on one arm. “A bottle of premium” I said. Two minutes later, I was looking around the bar that I had walked by so many time, looking at the frogs in the window. No here I was, acting all smart and grown up. 16 years old, and drinking a beer in Neumann’s Bar! What til I tell my buddy’s! Well I was getting very nervous! I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there, I knew that if I got caught I would be in big trouble, but for the moment, I was so cool!!!!! The beer went without any further incident, and I looked around trying to memorize everything in the bar. Sawdust on the floor, brass foot rails and spittoons! The dozens of deer heads, old pictures and all the things in the lighted cases behind the bar. It was just like something out of a cowboy movie.
I finished that beer, said good night, and left the bar, as I said I had to get home, because I had to work in the morning. I ran all the way home! I was so cool! I lay in bed and smiled and couldn’t wait to tell everyone at work where I had been.
The rest of the story goes without incident………………until the following Friday. My dad came home from work. I was sitting out side. He came over and sat down next to me on the picnic table in the back yard. I could always tell when something was wrong; by the way the space between his eyebrows would get a crease in it. He said “I understand you were downtown the other night”. I know I looked guilty immediately! I could feel my self starting to get warm. I didn’t know if I was gonna get a good smack or not. “Yes sir! It won’t happen again”. “Damn right it won’t! I am not going to tell your mother about this, but don’t even ask if you can use the car until school starts”! “Yes Sir”! I breathed a sigh of relief as he went into the house. Then I smiled to my self, it was till pretty cool!
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. (M West)
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Postby Tremors » 15 Jan 2008, 12:07

I get an American Graffiti vibe from your description of where you worked. :lol:

Good thing that you were able to tag along with the sailor, otherwise I'd be you wouldn't have been able to sneek in.

BTW, Just how did your dad figure it out? Who sold ya out? :lol:
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Postby Bigtime » 15 Jan 2008, 14:54

Tremors wrote:
I get an American Graffiti vibe from your description of where you worked.

It was! The owners name was Norm Slessor! He used to watch over the "girls" like they were his own daughters. There were parking spaces for about 26 cars with speakers and tray holders. It got to the point where it was so busy that he hired off duty cops to patrol the carhops lot. On a Sunday night, it was nothing for me to cook 800+ burger patties in one night. I actually got over a 1,000 a couple of times. There are still some "big boy" drive in's around, still part of that original franchise. The lot was designed so you could drive through and exit back to the street at the other end. "Big" cars went through all night and made the "tour" then on to "Porkys" on University and "Jerry's" drive in on White Bear Avenue.
Good thing that you were able to tag along with the sailor, otherwise I'd be you wouldn't have been able to sneak in.

I still see that "Sailor" every once in a while in Neumann’s and we laugh about the old days, and buy each other a beer!
BTW, just how did your dad figure it out? Who sold ya out?

I found out a few years later it was a guy that worked with my dad. He had been out with the "boys" from the fire dept that particular night. His last name was Barthomy, and he lived up on 15th Avenue near Saint Peters Church.
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Postby Tremors » 16 Jan 2008, 10:59

On 36th and 120 you say? Must have long since been torn down by the time I was "aware" of the world around me. So it goes. Which corner was it on? I bet my mother would have gone there though--she lived down 120 on the lake and when she was young, used to manage the Dairy Queen on 36 & 120 (not sure exactly when though), so she would have been aware of "Mr. Bigs".

BTW, at least Porky's is still around!

Bigtime wrote:His last name was Barthomy, and he lived up on 15th Avenue near Saint Peters Church.


Ah, the fiend! :x I went to school with a gal of that name. Probably related; although, she didn’t grow up in that area of NSP.
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Postby Bigtime » 16 Jan 2008, 12:10

Tremors asked:
On 36th and 120 you say?

The building is still there. It's the building that has the bike shop in it, directly south of Sharels Restaurant (across the street, in back of the Marathon gas station). There used to be a house where the Premier Pizza is now. The road was in the same place, and the Car-hops Lot (parking spaces) ran all along the south side of (now 50th) the road, east and west. Also that gas station that is closed now (Marathon) used to be a Standard Oil station.
I am really curious what your Mom's maiden name was? If you feel comfortable with it, send me an email. I knew or knew of quite a few of the families that lived on the lake on 120, although I think from what has been said your mom was younger than I am?
I bet Stan, Agitator, and maybe Lynn, (for sure Chrome Dome) remember "Mr Bigs"!
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Postby Tremors » 16 Jan 2008, 12:55

Actually, based on your stated age in 1962 (as noted above), she would have been about 5 years older.
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Postby Tremors » 18 Jan 2008, 10:42

Not to stray too far away from the topic of "Bar Stories", but the house you speak of,
Bigtime wrote:There used to be a house where the Premier Pizza is now.
, by chance did that burn down around 1981, 1982?
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Postby Bigtime » 18 Jan 2008, 12:31

I don't remember if it burned, but while the drive-in was open a older couple owned it. He used to sue Norm Slessor every year because of the paper that blew in his yard and the noise etc etc. Understandably the old guy across the street, drove a new caddie every year, and it was matter of great anguish to the owner of Mr Bigs.
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Postby Tremors » 18 Jan 2008, 13:29

Must be the same house; located roughly across from the old Laurie (sp?) Gas Station.

When I was in grade school, the place burned, and since it was right down the road, a friend and I snuck in and walked around it's charred remains before they torn it down.

I told my mom about that stunt years later; her reaction: :shock:

:lol: :lol: 8) :lol: :lol:
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Postby Polaralum » 20 Jan 2008, 23:07

Laurie gas. i remember that place. The guy who worked there was very nice. My parents were regulars there. 8)
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Postby Bigtime » 20 Jan 2008, 23:18

Polaralum wrote:Laurie gas. i remember that place. The guy who worked there was very nice. My parents were regulars there. 8)

There was probabaly a 100 different "guys" that worked there over the years?
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Postby Tremors » 20 Jan 2008, 23:51

My buddy Aaron used to sling petrol there. :)
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Postby Polaralum » 21 Jan 2008, 07:52

Seems to me that only one guy was there from about the early 80s through--gosh I don't know--at least 7 years or so but probably longer.
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Laurie Gas

Postby Bigtime » 23 Jan 2008, 09:46

Tremors wrote:My buddy Aaron used to sling petrol there. :)

Also my nephew Mike, and his best friend Pete, around 1985.
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