Photos by Eliesa Johnson and Caitlin Abrams
7th Street Barbers in St. Paul, Minnesota
7th Street Barbers
The 5.5-mile corridor is a blue-collar Champs-Élysées, with the old Schmidt Brewery sign as the de facto Arc de Triomphe. And like the Parisian boulevard, West 7th revels in its roots. Historic buildings line the east end, and a working saddlery, organ builder, and candy factory (Pearson’s!) nod to its manufacturing heritage. Mixed-bag retail (from antique shops to tattoo parlors), breweries (Summit, Bad Weather), neighborhood bars (Joe & Stan’s, Keenan’s), and classic restaurants (Bennett’s Chop & Railhouse, Forepaugh’s, Mickey’s Diner) round out this proudly proletariat byway.
From Kellogg Blvd. to the Hwy. 5 bridge
Cossetta Market and Italian Grocery
Cossetta is a West 7th Street institution, though most think of it as a place to stop for a quick slice before, say, a show at the X. But don’t sleep on its Italian market, which boasts a bakery (bow down to the olive loaf) and 100 glorious feet of meat and cheese cases (marvel at the nearly 30 types of salami on display).
211 W. 7th St., 651-222-3476, cossettas.com
Alexander Ramsey House
Built in the 1870s by Minnesota’s first territorial governor, the Victorian-style Ramsey House has enough preserved details to sate history buffs (14,000 original furnishings!) and great special events to woo the rest of us (check out its themed “History Happy Hour” series).
265 S. Exchange St., 651-296-8760, sites.mnhs.org/historic-sites/alexander-ramsey-house
7th Street Barbers
When you need some Suavecito Pomade or a proper straight-razor shave, you come to this friendly little shop, which has been operating continuously on West 7th since 1894. Checkered tile flooring? Yes. Wood paneling like you’d find in grandpa’s basement? Uh-huh. An ace staff helmed by a master barber who suffers no fools? Check again (hey, Pete).
925 W. 7th St., 651-228-9433, 7thstreetbarbers.com
Golden Chow Mein
Foodies hate on Americanized Chinese food, but admit it: Some days demand egg foo young, cream cheese wontons, and lo mein. And on those days, you hoof it to Golden Chow Mein for the simple fact that it takes those classics seriously. That authentic Sichuan hot pot can wait.
1105 W. 7th St., 651-228-1276, goldenchowmein.com
Vine Park Brewing
Brew an ale or make a green apple riesling onsite using Vine Park’s equipment and expertise. If you’re feeling generous, book all six brewing kettles and host 30 of your closest pals for a decidedly hands-on happy hour.
1254 W. 7th St., 651-228-1355, vinepark.com
The Bearded Mermaid Bazaar
It’s the rare vintage shop geared toward men! The last time we were in, we scored some Hamm’s bumper stickers, lusted after an old Lowertown sign, and were sufficiently impressed by its selection of retro blazers.
957 W. 7th St., 651-788-3645
LeAther Goods Maker J.W. Hulme’s HQ isn’t just a Deal-Laced Showroom, it’s where it actually makes its Wares.
678 W. 7th St., 651-222-7359, jwhulmeco.com
The chophouse side of Mancini’s is hardly a hidden gem—after nearly 50 years, it remains a favorite special event spot for a demographic we’ll lovingly generalize as “old St. Paul” (i.e., predominantly Catholic Saintly City lifers). But the lesser-known lounge is its secret weapon. The tiered seating, red vinyl booths, and zig-zagging runner lights call to mind the seedy disco dens of Scarface. But there’s nothing seedy here—just good old hard-drinking fun (especially on the weekend when you can sweat to the oldies with house band Midas Touch).
531 W. 7th St., 651-224-7345, mancinis.com
DeGidio’s Restaurant & Bar
Great service and the best red sauce on the strip make the circa-1933 DeGidio’s a favorite among locals and Minnesota Wild pre-gamers. Also top-notch: the bar, which is no surprise given that original owner Joe “Kid Bullets” DeGidio was a bootlegger.
425 W. 7th St., 651-291-7105, degidios.com
A criminally undersung taqueria with amazing beef tongue tacos.
1199 W. 7th St., 651-298-1000
Golden Leaf Tobacco
Like its sister location in Uptown, Golden Leaf St. Paul boasts a walk-in humidor with fancy cigars, a lounge, and three private rooms where you can try before you buy.
277 W. 7th St., 651-528-8676, goldenleafsmokeshop.com
The Brewing Water for Sale outside the Schmidt Artist Lofts
The old Schmidt Brewery’s transformation into a live-work complex for artists gets most of the press, but don’t ignore the sidewalk vending machine outside its doors, where 75 cents gets you a gallon of pristine brewer’s water sourced from a well 1,100 feet underground.
888 W. 7th St.