Is another downtown Rochester restaurant about to close? Has it closed already? Is it only temporarily closed? I noticed a post on Facebook a few days ago from a person asking if the downtown bar and restaurant was permanently closed and reached out to the business to find out what's going on.

The Half Barrel, located on First Avenue and Third Street Southwest in downtown Rochester, opened in 2014 and quickly became a favorite for locals, especially those that like whiskey. The establishment serves food, has a full bar, and hundreds of whiskeys to sample. The Half Barrel was even recognized by Yelp a few years ago as being one of the 50 best whiskey bars in America.

The downtown area has lost several great restaurants including The Loop, Potbelly's, Hefe Rojo, and Newt’s so I kind of freaked out when I saw a post on Facebook asking if the Half Barrel had closed.

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I work downtown and frequent a lot of the restaurants so losing another would suck.


On the popular “Spotted in Rochester” Facebook page a woman asked, “Is the Half Barrel permanently closed?”

Someone immediately responded saying the downtown business was in fact closed for good.

Another person even shared the screenshot below from Google.

Now, Google business listings aren’t always right so I kept checking the comments to see if anyone would post something more official, but an argument about bike lanes started, so I just decided to reach out to the business to find out what was going on.

While waiting for a response, I walked over and saw the sign below posted on their door.

TSM Rochester
TSM Rochester

Ok. Closed for a kitchen remodel. No big deal. Restaurants do that all of the time.

But, we checked, and it doesn't look like any permits were pulled.

I saw more comments online and we got some calls on our morning show from people wondering what was up.

I sent a Facebook message to the business seeking clarification.

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I saw the message was read about half an hour later but didn't get an immediate response. So I waited a day and sent a follow-up that explained that I was ready to publish an article to explain what was happening with The Half Barrel.

attachment-Screenshot 2023-01-20 115821

It's now been more than two full days since my original message was read and there hasn't been a response.

Hopefully, they're just busy with that kitchen remodel.

We'll update this story with additional information if and when we find out more.

List of Rochester Businesses That Closed in 2022

Saying goodbye is never easy, and in Minnesota, it takes us a few hours to actually get out the door when we are visiting friends. Sadly, a few businesses in Rochester, Minnesota had their own goodbye in 2022 - some in more of a Minnesota style with a note and a few weeks or days to have closure, while others just seemed to disappear in the night forever.