Stepping into Lindberg’s Tavern on Springfield’s historic Commercial Street (C-Street) is one of those times when you wonder, “If only these walls could talk.” And if they could, they’d have quite a story to tell of the oldest tavern in the Queen City.
Lindberg’s opened in 1870 and quickly became a one-stop-shop for railroad workers looking to kick back after long hauls on the line.
“There were 32 businesses on Commercial Street and 16 of those were bars,” says co-owner Ryan Dock. “This is one of them and they poured beer here in the front, ran a liquor store in the back and a brothel upstairs.”
Lindberg's Tavern offers an eclectic menu and live music on the weekends.
From Lindberg’s perch on the corner of Campbell and Commercial, rows of east and west-bound train tracks are visible across the street, and it’s easy to imagine tired workers coming off the trains, dodging horse-drawn wagons to cross a dusty Commercial Street for a beer. Lindberg’s remained opened through the decades with the exception of the Prohibition Era and a stint in the 1990’s. During the 1970’s and through the early 1990’s, the tavern was a popular blues club and a frequent stop for the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
“We’ve really tried to embrace the history of this place but also but add our own little flavor to it,” says Dock, who purchased Lindberg’s along with co-owner Eric Weiler in 2009.
Lindberg's Tavern patio.
The history of Lindberg’s surrounds you as you walk in. An antique piano sits off to the left, the 100 plus year-old Brunswick bar back serves as the tavern’s centerpiece and a framed copy of the arrest warrant of Belle Wilson, one of the the madams of the upstairs brothel, hangs on the wall.
Dock and Weiler have added their own flavor to Lindberg’s through their new menu — one that features a fresh and daring take on traditional bar food. Burgers seared in duck fat, poutine (fries covered in gravy and cheese) and black-eyed pea hummus are all popular items.
“We call it white tablecloth bar food,” says bartender/server Rochelle Gibbs, as she slides a menu on the table. “We offer really fun dining for bar food and everything has a twist to it.”
The Lindburger and Beer Bratwurst at Lindberg's Tavern.
Dock and Weiler both have a passion for food and and for historic Commercial Street, which had a significant influence on what they chose to offer. Beers from White River Brewing Company and Mother's Brewing Company are used to make homemade condiments, and Askinosie Chocolate is used in one of their most popular desserts.
“We just wanted to embrace C-Street by using ingredients for our food from local businesses,” he adds. “And we wanted to bring something to C-Street that was missing, Turns out that was a good, local burger and quality bar food.”
Where to go:
318 W. Commercial St.
When to go:
Live music: Early shows on Fri. and Sat. at 5:30 p.m., late shows 9 p.m. to close, Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
Editor's Note: This story is the first in a series spotlighting businesses on Springfield's historic Commercial Street.
Springfield's Lindberg's Tavern.