Steel Toe Pub quietly opened in February in the historic Androy Hotel’s lobby at 1213 Tower Avenue in Superior. Patrons of the former Androy Lounge might find the pub unrecognizable as the space has been extensively renovated in the past year.
Owners Margie and Dave Regner have also been proprietors of the hotel since 1986. Margie said her husband and sons did much of the work on the bar themselves, ripping out layers of false ceilings and taking down several walls to reveal exposed brick. “We totally gutted the whole place,” she says.
Margie says they want it to feel like a working man’s pub. Dave’s father was a welder and many of their hotel patrons are men who work on the ships and railroad. They hired local artist Brian Olson to paint murals on the walls to complement the new motif. Olson’s work appears throughout the Twin Ports at places like Tavern on the Hill and Famous Dave’s. They’ve also maintained some elements of the historic building, like an old stained glass window.
There’s a mix of seating options, a nook for retro gaming and big televisions for sports fans. They wanted a soft opening to work out the kinks, according to Ben Regner, bar manager and son of Margie and Dave. So far, they’ve had a variety of customers, from hotel guests to tourists and a late-night crowd. They’re aiming for a mellow atmosphere. “The music isn’t blaring loud, people can carry on a conversation,” says Margie.
The hotel is also home to Superior Family Restaurant. The restaurant closes at 3 p.m., which is when Steel Toe Pub opens. The pub feeds hungry patrons through a partnership with Vintage Italian Pizza, which is located just down the block.
Steel Toe runs a happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. with a $2 special on domestic bottled beer and rail drinks. There are also specialty drinks like a cucumber press and local craft beers from the likes of Bent Paddle Brewing and New Glarus Brewing.
Androy Hotel History
The Androy Hotel was built in 1925 and was advertised as the largest and only fireproof hotel in Superior. Designed by architect Roland Buck, the hotel’s nine stories were built with reinforced concrete. According to a May 15, 1925 story in Superior’s Evening Telegram, the $750,000 building was funded by money raised through a public subscription drive in Superior and the surrounding area. The 1,300 citizens who donated to the project became shareholders in the company.
The name “Androy” was derived from combining the first names of Andrew Doran and Roy Quigley, who managed the hotel in Superior (they also managed the Androy Hotel in Hibbing, which was built in 1921 and was financed by the Oliver Mining Company). Commonly called “Superior’s million dollar hotel,” the Androy featured illustrious guests in its heyday, such as Jacqueline and John F. Kennedy and Charlie Chaplin. J. Edgar Hoover stayed there, along with other agents and high-level prisoners, while working on a murder case.
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