The bars of North Fifth Street in Superior, 1978

October 15, 1978

Bars line the north side of North Fifth Street in Superior on Oct. 15, 1978. (Charles Curtis / News-Tribune)

Does the scene above look familiar? If so, you have a pretty good memory, because all but one of these bars lining North Fifth Street in Superior have been gone for years. The stop sign by the vintage van marks the corner of Ogden Avenue in this view looking east. From left to right, the bars visible here are the Heartbreak Bar, Burke’s Place, the 5th Street Hotel, High Times Saloon, Nickel Street Saloon, the Viking Lounge and the Handlebar. Click on the photo for a much larger image.

This area was largely cleared to make way for commercial and industrial development in the 1970s and 1980s. Here’s the same stretch of North Fifth Street today:

A surviving tavern is the Viking at the corner of Fifth and Hughitt, visible in the distance with the same vertical LIQUORS sign as it had in 1978. Here’s a close-up present-day view:

There may be one other tavern structure still standings – is the “Handlebar” in the distance in the 1978 photo the same building that houses Schultz’s Sports Bar today? I don’t know.

So when did all those bars get torn down? Was it all at once, or did it happen over a few years? Again, I don’t know, so perhaps one of you can fill in some details.

A March 29, 1981, News Tribune article on the redevelopment effort in the North End mentioned how “the project is creating open spaces in the once heavily settled district between Tower and Hammond avenues and North Third and the east-west rail corridor at Eighth Street.

“The 20-square-blocks are being transformed from one of old frame houses ‘so close together neighbors could shake hands through open windows’ to an area of potential high value as a commercial and light industrial district, Superior community development specialist James Kumbera said.”

The city was buying up houses as it could and demolishing them to create large areas of open land.

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What are your memories of the bars along North Fifth Street? What more information can you offer about when they were torn down? Share your memories by posting a comment.

13 thoughts on “The bars of North Fifth Street in Superior, 1978

  1. The Manila Bar that later became the Handlebar once was on the corner of
    5th and Cummings. The Manila faced Cummings avenue. Behind the Manila was the Walhalla (SP?) Bar. The sidewalk overhead sign on the Wahalla read on west side, “Last chance,” meaning no more bars going eastward on 5th toward Kitchee’s (sp) restaurant referred to as the Kitchen in the article. On the east side of the Walahalla sign it read, “First Chance.” Kitchee’s store was across 5th Street from the restaurant. At some previous time, the Manila Bar on Cummings avenue was the Manilla Saloon.

  2. A lot of my friends and I used to spend some quality time at the Nickel Street Saloon, especially on weekends. The couple that owned it in the late 70s and 80s were great. He was a big man and I believe his name was Don. They had good food, a great jukebox and everything was reasonably priced. I moved to the Cities in 1985 and would stop in when I got back to Duluth so I know they were open for at least a year or two after that.

  3. Prior to being The Handlebar, it was The Manila for many years, the place where all of the Midnight shift warehouse guys from Twin Ports Grocery used to hang out after work in the morning.

  4. I lived at 315 Ogden (3rd & Ghetto) at the time. I shot pool in all those bars. I remember 2 for 1 happy hour at High Times…pick out an album to play on their stereo, and smokin “pipes” right at the bar. Good food at Nickle Street Saloon. Andeker on tap….bought a few kegs there for parties.

  5. The cozy little bars in Superior hold good memories, yet there’s nothing that compares to The Cove or The Zoo – where crowds were shoulder to shoulder and bands were unmatched (Green Apple Quick Step, Atlantis…..) – the best!.

  6. I worked my way through college as a bartender at various bars in Superior from 1966-’71. I worked at the Uptown Bar and Grill for Lew Eisenberg (where Walgreens is), Cronstrom’s Supper Club for Harold Cronstrom, and two bars on Nickle Street (Fifth Street). I worked for Billy Nelson at the Viking Bar and Paul Heytens at the Hammond Avenue Supper Club. All four bars were great were unique and memorable experiences – I can remember many great stories.

    Anyway, I can remember a picture taken in the 1940′s from Ogden Avenue peering down Nickle Street and it is amazing the numeber of taverns. The pic I remember shows many more taverns than the pic shown in your article as it shows both sides of Nickle Street. I am sure someone must have that pic and would be great to see in the paper.

    Pete Blomquist
    Foxboro

    • Ilived on 5th and fisher. was in the manila tavern as a baby in a stroller. pushemup joe was the bartender.marlene pearson.been in most all theother taverns also.

  7. I remember the Nickel Street Saloon selling a bag of the best Fries for a $1.00. I lived kiddy corner from the Heartbreak Hotel, 5th & Ogden, and the weekends sure were wild on 5th Street.

  8. Schultz’s Bar used to be the Handlebar. Across the street was the North Star Bar & Liquor Store. It is now High Fives on Fifth. North Star burnt down in the late 90′s I believe. My Husband used to work at The North Star in the late 80′s. Fun place at the time.

    • My first wife and I would hang out a The North Star during the 70s. We would go there to watch Monty Python. Now that’s something completely different.

  9. I’m too young to remember those bars but further east of Shultz’s there are some old boarded up buildings that bare resemblance to these. Maybe those were bars at one time too. All the way down near 5th and Catlin still resides the restaurant known as “The Kitchen”

    Most of that area by The Kitchen is now residential but could have been a much more successful commercial area when it was the main road to take to get to Main St. and the Interstate Bridge.

    • The Kitchen, as it is called today was named Kitch’s and was a poplar after hours (2:00am) eating place, especially Friday and Saturday nights. The Good Old Days (early 1970′s)

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