Anoka’s first liquor establishment “Empire Saloon” was established in spring of 1858 on Main Street by Daniel D. Dudley. The temperance movement was strong in Minnesota and a meeting was called to the school house on April 5th to discuss a solution to the dastardly establishment. A committee was established to learn whether Dudley could be persuaded to close his Saloon. After the committee failed to produce results, a vigilante group was established. With faces disguised, this new group broke into Dudley’s saloon on the night of May 6th. The group bound and gagged Dudley and proceeded to destroy his wares.
Dudley swore out warrants for the destruction of his property. The lack of a formal jail made getting the group of vigilantes together difficult.
Dudley resumed business at the “Empire Saloon” until May 11th of 1859 when the saloon caught fire and was burned to the ground. No one doubted that the fire was set intentionally. It is said that Dudley would burn the town to the ground. Two months later on July 14th, the Methodist church, nearing completion, caught fire and was destroyed. Many of its members had been in opposition of Dudley’s venture.
After several encounters with the law and opponents, Dudley took the advice of his friends and left the hostile reception.
Over a 150 years later, the Empire Room stands in testament to Dudley’s opposition to the temperance movement just across the river from where the “Empire Saloon” was established.
64-80 casual seating or 100 standing cocktail style. Rentals include private restrooms, bar service and a bride ready room.
The Empire Room will be available for private rental. When not rented out, the space will be used for live music, comedy and more!
The Empire Room is a dog free space.
Wine: Available with all day rentals and large party rentals of at least 5hrs. Wine
may only be served through an approved caterer. $5 corking fee applies in addition to
corking fees from approved caterers.
Liquor: Our Taproom license does not allow for wine or liquor. Approved caterers may
only provide wine.