All the Minneapolis dive bar gambling bells and whistles.
Minneapolis over time has built a deep connection between neighborhood pubs & dive bars in the city and one of America’s great pastimes, gambling. Dive bars throughout Minneapolis almost without exception include a pull tab station offering any number of games for purchase, but maybe even more native to the drinking scene in the city is the presence of two amazing gambling outliers: Bingo and the fabled meat raffle. The 1029 Bar (the “Tenner” as the bar refers to itself) is a neighborhood home not only to drinking but to all manner of gambling indulgence, making it a sought-out destination.
The Northeast neighborhood of Minneapolis has a deep bench of dive bars, The 1029 Bar among them, though the Tenner sits more toward the neighborhood pub end of the spectrum than dive bar. The bar itself uses the terms “neighborhood bar” and “sports bar” in tandem, making clear where it sits among drinking hierarchy in the city. Outside, blazing orange neon inscribed with the name of the pub is the easy eye catcher, bright atop painted brick on a building that sits as a solitary figure along one of the main routes into the heart of the Nordeast part of the city.
Some classic signage on the edge of the building (“Troy & Scott’s 1029 Bar Nordeast”) helps funnel traffic to the front door on the street-facing front edge of the building, an entrance that affords the ability to see the full stretch of the space upon entering. This is a long space, broken up in places, but a true shotgun style bar that on a busy Meat Raffle evening packs people into every corner. This reviewer was lucky enough to visit on Bingo night, a wildly popular weekly occurrence ($1000 prize, twice a week). Every seat was filled, every table packed with beer and, interestingly enough, lobster rolls.
Local mini-chain Smack Shack operates the kitchen within 1029 Bar, specializing in all things lobster. Options run from the classic (lobster rolls, of course) to the extravagant (fancy a seafood tower during your Bingo night?). The upscale menu offerings offer a fun contrast to the weekly meat raffle, a Minneapolis dive bar tradition that operates exactly as it sounds. Buy a ticket, win some meat. What better complement to some light drinking to end of the week (meat raffles run every Friday at 5:30 PM). And if all of that gambling wasn’t enough to sate your appetite for vice, a tri-wheel (think quasi-roulette) is available, spun nearly nightly for those interesting in wagering.
As for the space inside, the front room is dominated by a large bar, a winding apparatus that looks a little bit like the letter ‘J’ or perhaps a hockey stick, offering ample seating and pushing a few tall tables to the edges of the fairly narrow space. A step up to the next room unlocks seating a bit more spread out, tall tables accommodating groups of all sizes. The signage throughout is sports bar-standard, metals signs and beer-labeled mirrors, televisions of course prevalent.
Though not necessarily a Minneapolis dive bar at its heart, The 1029 Bar is best viewed as the quintessential Upper Midwest neighborhood pub. The food is good, the gambling options numerous and the footprint large enough to serve as everything from a weeknight stopover to weekend launch pad. The siren songs of meat raffles, orange neon and lobster rolls converge uniquely and satisfyingly at The Tennner.