The Happy Gnome – Minneapolis, MN


The Happy Gnome is located at 498 Selby Avenue in St. Paul Minneapolis in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood. Opened in 2006, The Happy Gnome is known as St. Paul’s finest “Gastropub.”


The Happy Gnome is housed in an ivy-covered brick building with a distinctive turret that once functioned as a fire station in the 1800s. The rambling restaurant/bar features a long wooden bar, high ceilings and cozy leather booths that run along tall windows overlooking Selby Avenue.

In the summer, customers can soak up the sun in the bars comfortably enclosed, wood-lined outdoor “dog-friendly” patio with fire pit. Their upstairs dining area, The Firehouse Room, is available for private events like weddings, business gatherings and birthday or anniversary celebrations.

For gift cards or souvenir tee-shirts sporting the pub’s silhouetted gnome logo check out their online webpage.


Privately owned and operated, The Happy Gnome offers 76 rotating craft beers on draft, many of them Minnesota and Wisconsin brews, like Surly, Fulton, Lift Bridge, Rush River, Schell’s Excelsior, Bad Weather, Steel Toe and Boom Island, as well from the country’s best breweries, including Bell’s, Founders, Deschutes, Lagunitas, New Belgium Odell, and Clown Shoes.

The bar also serves 300 different types of scotch and whiskeys. Their whiskey list has over 250 selections, from rare bourbons and ryes to aged single malts from Scotland and Ireland. They also have a number of ciders on tap. More than 100 of the beers are listed on chalkboards that stretch to the ceiling.

“For over eight years, The Happy Gnome has pushed forward the craft beer scene, increasing our drafts lines to feature 76 taps of the local craft scene, which makes the many brews from our tap list is exclusively domestic craft and quality import, rotating through seasonal selections and maintaining some favorites. Promoting craft beer is also fun: every month we feature a different brewery, hosting a beer dinner where the brewer comes out and explains their beers in detail while our chef creates a pairing for each course.” – The Happy Gnome Website

The Happy Gnome has been named one 33 best beer bars in the country by the online site Thrillist and has been on the list of the top 100 beer bars compiled by Draft Magazine.

A beer lover’s paradise, the Happy Gnome had been called by one customer “one of a 100 places you must have a beer at before you die.” And for a special treat heed the words of one customer who said, “Two words: Bloody Marys.”


Throughout this Irish like pub, visitors can enjoy the smattering of gnome statues that reflect title of the establishment.

In March of each year, the Happy Pub hosts the Firkin Fest, a collection of specially-brewed ales using traditional ingredients. Each one of these beers has been cask-conditioned, with no
filtration, pasteurization or added gases for carbonation. Featuring over 90 beer casks on tap from nearly 50 breweries across the country, the annual event is housed under a heated tent in the parking lot of The Happy Gnome.

The General Manager of The Happy Gnome, says of the event, “Firkin Fest is a great opportunity for craft brewers to showcase the artistry of their craft…They get to create something unique that really can’t be made on a large scale, and share it with people who are true beer enthusiasts.”

While visiting The Happy Gnome take advantage of the pubs eclectic American cuisine offering choices of different meats, including venison, elk, quail, and duck.

For those who want a simpler fare, there are shredded pork burritos, jalapeño braised pork sandwich, bison burgers, and Cuban sandwiches with pickles and mustard.

And for the vegetarian, a sandwich layered with eggplants, mushrooms and red peppers with mozzarella in between, breaded and then baked to melt the cheese.


According to the Happy Gnome website, the chef on staff favors a “seasonally-changing, eclectic menu” and leans toward “local and sustainable farming, fostering relationships with independent growers and producers for the majority of the menu.”

The restaurant serves lunch on weekdays, nightly dinners and weekend brunch. Sunday brunch has live jazz/blues music.

One customer’s review summed up the establishment nicely, saying: “The Happy Gnome is a wonderful restaurant. Delicious, imaginative food — very well-prepared, with lots of fresh ingredients. Huge beer list — something for everyone. Great service, and the ambiance on the patio is fantastic.” Another visitor praised the restaurant/pub for its “Great service, great food, great beer. I leave a happy gnome!”

Update: The Happy Gnome Pub (originally opened as Engine Company Number Five in 1882) closed after 14 years on December 22nd,  2019. But in July 2020 the historic site reopened as The Gnome. The new pub will continue the legacy of The Happy Gnome.

The Happy Gnome
c/o The General Manager
498 Selby Avenue
St. Paul MN 55102

The Happy Gnome (Website)
The Happy Gnome (Facebook)
The Happy Gnome (Twitter)



Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Thomasville, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Beverages & Beer, Restaurants, Bars and Eateries

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