The Bottle Inn was located at 225 W. 78th Street at Pleasant Ave. So. in Bloomington. Here’s a long shot of the street, with the Bottle Inn right in the middle.
According to the folks on Facebook, the building was in the shape of a huge bottle, and was a tourist attraction. An ad says it was “Known from Coast to Coast.” Jean Bellefeuille of the Bloomington Historical Society, who was kind enough to send the photo below, said that Pete Bove, a sign painter for Naegle, painted the large bottle sign that was the front facade of the building. The photo may have come from Stan Danielson. Here’s a closeup:
In April to September 1937, it was operated by Ernie Fisher.
On May 28, 1938, six men were arrested in an “affray” to do with picketing of the Inn. (Minneapolis Star, June 9, 1938)
An ad in the Republican Register dated October 1940, tells us that the Bottle Inn’s proprietor was Carl Miller, and that it had “Dancing Every Nite.” The address was given as just 78th Street.
Music was provided by the Bottle Inn Orchestra, which made the records shown below. The images come from Gary Anderson, whose father was in the Orchestra.
TRAGEDY AT THE BOTTLE INN
In June 1942, a grisly truck/motorcycle accident occurred outside the Bottle Inn, when a young man took a 14-year-old girl he met there dancing on a ride on his motorcycle. They were hit from behind by a truck hauling ten tons of cattle. The truck driver was not speeding and swore he did not see the light on the motorcycle, which may have been covered by the girl’s coat. He was not charged. The young man was killed and the girl was severely injured. Fortunately, a doctor was in the car behind the truck and applied a tourniquet to the girl, although she ultimately lost a leg above the knee. (Minneapolis Star, June 24, 1942) In August 1942, a benefit was held for her at the Bottle Inn.
ENTERTAINMENT AT THE BOTTLE
Oh, here’s a sad one. Says here in a 1948 article that proprietor Paul Hammer installed the latest model General Electric television at the Inn and summarily fired the barbershop quartet that had been providing the entertainment. Hammer considered it an opportunity to provide entertainment without extra charge.
He planned to have daily broadcasts at 4:00 and 7:50 pm each weekday, working up to 30 hours of TV entertainment every week. KSTP was the first and only TV station in 1948, and the news was on at 7:50. Usually there was a baseball game or football game that started at 2:00, so the 4:00 time is a bit of a mystery. Maybe the Bottle Inn was the Twin Cities’ first sports bar! Thanks, Terry Ahlstrom!
In June 1952, Paul Hammer owned a slot machine license at the Bottle Inn. Hammer was also one of a shrinking number of people holding a slot machine license in January 1954.
BOTTOM OF THE BOTTLE
The contents of the Bottle Inn were advertised for sale in November 1957. The site was probably destroyed by the construction of the I-494 interchange at Nicollet Ave., and is now the approximate site of Sam’s Club on American Blvd.