Original Coney Island Cafe & Bar. St. Paul, MN

The Original Coney Island was still open in the early 90's when I lived in St. Paul. It has two distinct sides...a cafe side, which feels like an old school diner complete with stools at a counter. And a bar side...with bar stools, a few booths and an old wooden back bar filled with liquor bottles. The cafe side is bright and airy and serves coney dogs. The bar side is dank and dark and serves liquor. It's perfect. It closed down around 1996 and just sits there, untouched. They open once a year during the winter carnival for one day of bliss. The line snakes through the whole joint and out the door. Standing in line with an older crowd as they reminisce about going to the Original Coney Island after school or on dates or after work...many of them bringing their kids and grand kids along to show them what's what. It's a magical survivor in a world that has torn down most of what is old and cool.