The Restaurant No One Remembers
In 2015 James Lileks, internet pioneer* and writer, wrote about the “restaurant that no one remembers”, The Anglesey, which was a fixture in downtown Minneapolis for many years. It was an old-school establishment, a modest entertainment complex of sorts, with a formal dining room (pictured above), bar, motor lounge, and piano bar. There are stories that it was a front for gangsters in the forties, it also housed a multi-floor residential hotel above. Eventually, it succumbed to Rock ‘n’ Roll and the dawning of the Age of Aquarius in the mid-sixties, changing its name to The Pink Pussycat before it was torn down in 1973.
I remember it vividly.
Recently, I came across a postcard for it, I had seen it before, but not the obverse side, with a poetic description of what was, in reality, kind of a rowdy place.
I even remember its layout:
The dining room was a bit stodgy, but had a grand piano on top of the mezzanine, with a mirror strategically placed to offer a view of the pianists hands. A small stage faced the main dining area, but you could catch a glimpse the drummer’s posterior from the “motor lounge,” which sported models of very early automobiles displayed above a curved bar. The lounge had secretive naugahyde booths, making this room a haven for trysts. A ramp from it led down short ramp to the main bar, which had stuffed marlins cavorting over the various liquors. The cashier would gladly convert your payroll checks to liquid form, while a jukebox entertained those in the old-style booths along the wall. A flocked wallpaper room in the back hosted a small piano bar, a venue even more private than the motor lounge, conveniently located next to the rest rooms for the “ladies of the evening.”
I helped my father decorate (and un-decorate) the dining room for Christmas, I was probably about 13 years old the last time, a couple of my sisters remember it too, but almost any of its regular patrons that are still alive would be quite elderly now.
*at one time, Lileks' web site was in the top ten of all internet sites!