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Food & Drink

Uptown Death Watch: The Fremont, Hammer & Sickle Sure Seem Closed

The adjacent Lagoon Avenue restaurants have been "temporarily closed" for weeks.

9:25 AM CDT on July 19, 2022

an exterior shot of the fremont and hammer and sickle's awnings
Em Cassel|

It’s true: We’re borrowing the phrase “Uptown Death Watch” from an old series of Wedge LIVE! tweets. We love ya, Wedge LIVE!

The Fremont and Hammer & Sickle have been "temporarily closed" for weeks, according to signs posted in the windows of the Uptown restaurants. It's looking more and more like those closures are permanent.

The websites for both Hammer & Sickle (1300 Lagoon Ave. #150) and The Fremont (1300 Lagoon Ave. #100) have disappeared, and their most recent social media posts—a June 22 2-4-1 deal and a June 2 Pride promotion, respectively—were shared about a month ago.

Facebook messages to each restaurant have gone unanswered for more than a week, and now a big red "space for lease" banner hangs outside The Fremont along Fremont Avenue South.

Both Uptown bars were owned by Gene Suh, who was also behind the Lyndale Tap House, the Apple Valley Tap House, and the Eden Prairie Tap House (more on those in a moment). Soviet-themed bar Hammer & Sickle came first, in 2014, serving a menu of zakuski and shashlik and a whole heck of a lot of vodka. "I’ll admit, I came in the door quite skeptical. Faux-Soviet nostalgia in 2014… really?" Heavy Table's James Norton wrote in his review, before admitting to having been slightly charmed by the pelmeni and pierogi.

The Fremont followed, landing in the old Bar Abilene space next-door in 2015, where it served Uptown's after-work crowd during the week and had a much nightclubbier vibe on weekends. "The Fremont offers an upscale take on Buffalo Wild Wings," manager Dustin House told the Biz Journal at the time.

If our meticulous tracking of restaurant openings and closings is to be trusted, losing The Fremont and Hammer & Sickle would make fast-casual poke chain Aloha Poke Co., which has a location in Woodbury and several others throughout the U.S., Suh's sole remaining Minnesota establishment.

Suh previously owned Lyndale Tap House (which was replaced by Hickory n' Hops in 2019 and is now Iconos Gastro Cantina), Apple Valley Tap House (which is now Mezcalito Butcher), and Eden Prairie Tap House (inside Eden Prairie Center, no clue what's there now). Suh also briefly owned the modern Asian bar-restaurant ENJI MPLS, located in Uptown's former Scena Tavern space.

We'll update this story if we hear anything from The Fremont/Hammer & Sickle camp.

For more on the recent life and/or death of Uptown, revisit this ambitious 24-hour scene report from infancy of Racket.

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