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“Just OK”

Wabasha Street Caves
Ranked #2 of 42 Nightlife in Saint Paul
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: This unique facility for private events is comprised of 12,000 square feet in an underground cave system, which features stucco ceilings, tile floors, a 60-foot bar, dining room and meeting space.
Hicksville, New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Just OK”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2013

They're not caves, they're old mines that were subsequently used as a night club frequented by gangsters. After that, they were used as storage. We also took the Gangster tour and the two tours combined ran about 3 hours--a little too long for my taste.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank justmecpb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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118 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Des Moines, Iowa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“In the 70's”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 July 2013

That was when Disco was a big deal and there was a group of gay people that opened up a Bar in these caves and it was a fun place to hang out, but there were rules and regulations that had to be followed. No entering into the closed doors to the caves back in the rear of the building.

Still people managed to do it just the same and some got lost but they were found, and yet some just were curious and they were asked to leave. The arch ways from room to room where rounded and easy to walk through. The main room was large and was a dance area. With Bar and DJ and lots of great lighting from behind the bar and around the room.

Miss those good old times when life was just Fun and we loved each other for who we were and not what we were.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
Thank Glen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Twin Cities
1 review
“Sometimes you can't go back”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2013

The Caves used to be a good outing on Thursdays, but now management and ownership have implemented new policies without updating their website and utilize non-uniformed, non-identifiable enforcement staff. An orange vest or a sign would have been sufficient, instead there's an arm-waving, furrowed brow woman yelling at me from 3 cars over.

From the other negative responses here, there owner will cast off this customer service complaint. Family First, right? Clearly this is run as a hobby, not as a business. Take care to do what they tell you and to stay out of their way and you'll probably have a good time. Question them, though, and you might not be let in.

Skip the tour.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank Azeroth2b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Somerville, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Fascinating Hidden Space”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2013

My boyfriend and I were back in Minnesota for a visit. I wanted to find a unique thing for us to do in the Cities since we'd been to Minneapolis and St. Paul several times but never visit as tourists. We settled on a Thursday tour of the Wabasha Street Caves with a plan to stay for swing dancing after. Not really knowing what to expect, we showed up early and had a coffee at Grumpy Steve's Coffee House next door (also run by the people who own the caves it seems). About 15-20 minutes before the tour was supposed to begin two people showed up with a small cash box, set it up on a table next to us, and began accepting money for the tour. After a short delay while they waited for a small group to run to an ATM (tours are cash only, which it says on the website), they opened the doors and led us inside.

The Wabasha Street Caves are a series of man-made sandstone caves that were created in 1870-1880 to extract silica for glass. From 1890 to 1920 the caves were used for growing mushrooms. However, during Prohibition the first few caves served as a speakeasy, which in 1933 was transformed into a dance club known as Castle Royal run by Josie and William Lehmann. This club hosted performers like Cab Calloway and the Dorsey Brothers as well as illegal gambling in the back and was supposedly frequented by Ma Barker, Baby Face Nelson and John Dillinger.

Our guide took us through the former dance hall and speakeasy, showing us old photos from its past, talking about notable visitors, pointing out the bullet holes in the fireplace from a tommy gun attack that resulted in the unconfirmed death of three mobsters (bodies were never found and the killer got away). He also talked about the club's more recent life as a disco in the 70s and now a club where swing dancing takes place on Thursday nights. We were then led into the unfinished caves, where we were warned not to touch the sandstone walls. Here he showed us a basketball hoop from an ad featuring Kevin Garnet that was filmed down there and shined a light into the caves we couldn't access as they were crammed with debris stored there after a major flood.

All in all, it was an interesting tour that seemed about right for its low price. I would love to have stayed for the dancing, but they mentioned a huge group of teenagers were planning to be there that night so we decided to skip swing night.

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank AnubisAbyss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
Level Contributor
342 reviews
159 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 249 helpful votes
“Gangster Hangout of old”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2013

This place was a cool tour and well worth the money. Intersting mushroom shaped doorways and tales of gangster shootouts. This place is a real gem. There is something cool about going into an old cave that has been fashioned into a cool resteraunt. Kevin Garnett even spent the night here with a girlfriend when he played for the timberwolves.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Justin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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