New York chic gay bar Gladius closes

DOWNTOWN WEST—The owner of Gladius, an upscale gay bar that opened in September 2009 at 1111 Hennepin Ave. S., vacated the property on Dec. 20, according to building owner Terrance Laepin. The bar has been shuttered ever since, and crews have been busy retooling the interior in the hopes of attracting a new tenant.

“He made the decision that he wanted to pursue business opportunities out of state,” said Laepin, referring to former owner Phillip Berglin. Laepin said the split was amicable, and that the lease was terminated on friendly terms.

Berglin opened Gladius 14 months ago, his first nightclub venture, with a tagline that promised to bring “New York chic” to Minneapolis. The bar, a black, cave-like room with private booths tucked into a faux brick wall, featured rare and upscale drinks, some ranging as high as $25, and occasionally had doormen dressed in gladiator costumes.

Laepin, who has owned the building since 1998, is in the process of “vanilla shelling” the property, ensuring it will be versatile enough to suit future tenants.

He said he still has a “food/beverage tenant profile” in mind, but wouldn’t rent again to a nightclub. No new lease has been signed, but Laepin said he has had some interest.