And I never made it in there... Shoot. Now it looks like one struggle is over and another one has begun.
I never stepped in there myself -- though a friend of mine did once, she had just moved to Duluth and needed to use their bathroom. But I do feel sad at the loss of a local landmark. And I hope Ringsred doesn't just leave it the way it's looking today.
I have always hated that place. Raze it.
Mixed emotions on so many levels. My thoughts go out to the people that called it home, and often was the only home they were allowed to have or could afford.
I've been to the Kozy several times in the past year. Mostly because so many times I'd heard that you shouldn't go there. I am attracted to dive bars. If you've been to the Viking or Palmers at Cedar Riverside in MPLS, you know what I mean. I have to say that after each visit to the Kozy I was mostly disappointed. Either it was dead ("Should have been here on the first Friday night of the month.") or filled with incomprehensible folks who just weren't fun to chat with. I did like the staff, and the work they had to do to keep things in line.Somehow the Kozy just didn't have much of a character or characters for me. It might have in the past but I found it kind of empty and half alive. I did enjoy that on my last trip I was offered a drink in a glass-glass, not the cheap half- plastic tumbler. "You look like someone who uses a real glass," I was told. King of the Kozy, I guess. I was shocked that they had even brought real glasses into the place. I would order a Jack-Coke, be told again that it wasn't in stock, and then have a grainy Jim Beam and watch my back. I'll miss it for being the only jangly place in the area of town I frequent on foot.
I am sad about the lose of the Kozy ... not really about the bar, but about the people I got to know over the years. The treasure we lost was the people who have lived there for many many years and had the most fabulous stories to tell if someone would just take the time to sit down with one of the old timers and let them talk.
What most don't know about that place is that many people lived there for 10-20 years ... this was their little community ... these people cared about one another ... they would check on each other and they truly cared.
Yes, it was a shady bar. Bad people come and go. One of my friends that lived in the building said to me, "I bet you have a drug dealer in your neighborhood," and he laughed. You know what, it is true. I really don't know who my neighbor is down the block. I just think because it is the Kozy it is more in your face.
I had told a story about the Kozy a few months ago about my dad bringing me there when I was a little girl. I danced on the bar and ate chips and drank pop. Dad drove home drunk, but I am still here. :)
A part of my past went up in flames that night. I knew I could always go back there and visit my old friends and listen to Jerry talk about Jazz music and how he loved boxing back in the day. How the one guy who would only play Patsy Kline and every one would yell at him, but when the song went on we would all sing to her. How my friend Lloyd would tell me I was the most beautiful girl in the bar ... and that was because I was the only girl in the bar.
I guess I feel blessed to have been able to call them my friends down there ... these people that most have called names ... and labeled. I will miss them so very much. I thank god I was blessed to have all those times ... now that it's gone I realize I can't visit the place that made me feel my father and I can't hug all my old friends goodbye. Please be kind to people, you never know what wonder and knowledge a person has inside of them until you allow them to give it to you.
The Kozy and the Viking are quite different. The Viking Bar in Mpls had some of the best real blues music in town in the 80s.
The legacy that once was The Gold Room at the Kozy is now gone. Everybody raise a long-necked Bud and some sardines in a can to what was the Kozy. Had to play pool there for city pool league and that was always the special.
Viking bar in Superior you darn cliff-dwelling billy goat.
I'm sure dive bar patrons everywhere appreciate the hipster "I'm drinking here to be ironic/authentic/daring" crowd. Their money helps keep the regular's drink prices low.
Glad to hear no one was seriously injured upstairs and donate to your local charities.
I think these oral histories about the Kozy are great. What happened to Tony D's thread re the history of the Kozy? That had some interesting comments on it. Book idea for some local publisher or history buff: a collection of these first-hand accounts about the Kozy. And Patricia's memories have to be included.
Tony D's thread hasn't gone anywhere.
A Little Kozy History
Thanks Paul, didn't realize it was an older thread. I just suggested to Tony D over on that thread that he include oral histories in his "Lost Duluth" landmarks book; the stories I'm reading on PDD this week about the Kozy are fabulous, esp. Patricia's reminiscences.
Thanks. I am glad you appreciate them. I have many more.
We talked all the time about everyone writing a book about the place. We always thought we would maybe have time ... even a journal down there for people to write anything but we never did.
I am hoping to find out where all my blessed friends are going so I don't lose touch with them, but it will never be the same. I wonder where one little lady named Ruthie will go now. She would make herself up ... with her red lipsick and her matching scarf and gloves and purse ... she would walk down from tri-towers everyday. It was what she did. You knew that was her outing for the day. And when she came in all the older men would holler Heyyy Ruthie, and she would smile.
There are many enduring stories if you can look past the ugliness of what was going on outside on the street and the reputation of everyone being worthless or lazy. Diamonds in the rough ... they are all around us. We just have to look.
I'm with Bret. The Viking on the West Bank is indeed a dive worthy of the name.
But has some quality music.
So who gets dibs on that fantastic Mona Lisa at the bar painting?
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