A new Lincoln Park night spot will feature an artifact from the recently closed Red Herring Lounge, a well-loved but short-lived downtown Duluth music venue.
Duluth Grill owner Tom Hanson recently announced plans to open a new drinking establishment called the Noble Pour at 1907 W. Superior St. later this fall. The project will feature craft cocktails, a laid-back vibe and the old Red Herring bar.
“It’s just going to be very loungy,” said Hanson. “A place for people in the neighborhood to relax and enjoy a craft cocktail. That’s what we want to do here.”
The Noble Pour is the fourth property developed by Hanson and his partners on West Superior Street. The group opened OMC Smokehouse at 1909 W. Superior St. in February 2017 followed quickly by Corktown Deli & Brews and Taco Arcada across the street.
Hanson said a 75-unit apartment building planned to replace the old Robert’s Furniture store two blocks west of the Noble Pour will bring more new people to the neighborhood. He said the new residents will want a place to gather and socialize.
“If you look at the future of this neighborhood, we’re going to have a lot more young people moving in here,” he said. “People are not going to want to just be hanging out in their apartments. They want a nice place to go out at night.”
Wing-back chairs, tables and booths, soft lighting and jazz music played on a reel-to-reel tape should create a living room feel. A fireplace will service the space in the winter and an enclosed back patio is scheduled to open in the summer months. Bartenders will serve specialized craft cocktails from a liquor shelf that reaches to the ceiling.
The old Red Herring bar was acquired to serve as a centerpiece for the space. Hanson said he liked its look and it fit the room with little alteration. “I’m just making it up as we go,” he said.
The bar was built with reclaimed wood during a building remodel prior to the Red Herring Lounge opening in 2014. “John Finkle — a rogue boat builder — was the craftsman,” said Red Herring owner Bob Monahan.
The Red Herring Lounge, 208 E. First St., closed in June and remains for sale.
“Getting the bar out of there doesn’t mean it won’t be another bar or club,” Monahan said. “Mostly it just opens it up more to other possibilities.”
The Noble Pour building was constructed as retail space in 1903. City directories show the building served as a used furniture store, Johnson Appliance and TV, and Duluth Cash Register and Office Machine Company throughout the 20th Century. Light on a Hill Ministries is listed at the address from 1995 to 2000. An independent thrift shop occupied the space most recently.
According to St. Louis County records, Hanson purchased the two-story building for $425,000 on a contract for deed from a North Carolina company called K2C2-MN. The company gutted and remodeled the interior and exterior more than two years ago but plans for a coffee shop called Boreal failed to materialize.
The earlier renovation means very little needs to be done on building infrastructure. The next two months will be spent on creating the lounge space, Hanson said.
A second floor is nearly complete and will house Full Circle Yoga operated by Erik Schnackenberg.
Hanson said original plans to connect the OMC Smokehouse and use the space for restaurant overflow were scrapped to limit construction expenses. He said a connected space with additional tables would also affect restaurant service levels and food quality.
“The kitchen is only so big,” he said. “The biggest mistake you can make as a restaurant is to have more seating than your kitchen can handle. Then your wait times turn into an hour or more.”
OMC Smokehouse does a significant takeout business throughout the neighborhood, said Hanson. The restaurant makes frequent deliveries to the nearby Bent Paddle Brewery as well as other West Superior Street tap rooms and Lincoln Park residents.
“We’ve hit something that’s just working,” said Hanson. “You look at what Grandma’s did down in Canal Park with Bellisio’s and the Sports Garden. That’s what we’ve got. We’ve kind of said this will be our little neighborhood. We’ve kind of locked up this whole corner.”
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