In one of the more unusual BOGO pairings at Twin Cities restaurants, Uptown Minneapolis' oldest bar ran a special where you'd get a free spaghetti dinner — served in a liter glass — with the purchase of a draft beer.
That special comes to an end with the closure of Williams Uptown Pub & Peanut Bar, which posted a sign on its door, at 2911 Hennepin Av. in Minneapolis: "Sadly, we must say Goodbye. Williams is permanently closed."
Racket MN first reported the closure.
The is the second such announcement from Williams this year. The place closed temporarily in early 2022 after a shooting near the business. But this time, the closure appears to be permanent. Williams' website and social media accounts have been taken down.
Since the 1970s, Williams was an Uptown staple, a popular spot for regulars and neighborhood dwellers to watch sports over a plate of wings, play pool — and try to avoid the peanut shells stuck to the floor.
It had been credited, in the Star Tribune, with kick-starting the neighborhood's transformation into a nightlife district.
The sprawling two-level space had enough room for multiple concepts. In the 1980s, it housed a comedy club called the Funny Bone, and the Barracuda nightclub with a game room and what was billed at the time as the Upper Midwest's largest dance floor. Comedian Tom Arnold did a stint working as a "bartender/bouncer/whatever" in the '80s.
For a short while in the '90s, the bar had an upstairs nightclub, Chaos, that had a reputation for violence and excessive drunkenness. Williams remodeled in 1994 and redefined itself as an imported beer bar long before Minnesota's beer boom, at one point expanding its beer list to 246 labels, with 40 on tap. More recently, it had been known for drawing large groups of the post-college crowd.
The area around Hennepin and Lagoon avenues has been in flux the last few years, with a number of high-profile closures, including Uptown Tavern & Rooftop, which shut its doors in October.
Other recent closures include Hammer & Sickle, the Fremont, Cowboy Slim's and the Pourhouse Uptown. Not far away on Lake Street, Amore Uptown announced this week that Nov. 20 will be its last day of service.
But there have also been openings, including new businesses in many of those same addresses. Hammer & Sickle became BreakfastKlub and the Fremont is now Fire House Restaurant & Lounge. A music venue called the Green Room is taking over the Pourhouse space. Arts and Rec, a restaurant and mini-golf venue, just opened in the former Libertine space. And Amore Uptown will get a new life as a Kim Bartmann-owned concept.