"Sweet Lou" Snider, the master barroom pianist at Nye's Polonaise Room, died Sunday from cancer at 81.
Snider was a beloved presence at the throwback Northeast institution for almost 50 years. She retired in 2011.
"She liked that she could never predict what the night would be," Snider's daughter Luanne Annable told the Star Tribune. "You just went in there and got what you got with whoever came in."
Here's what Esquire magazine wrote about Snider when it name Nye's "The Best Bar In America" back in 2006:
"Sweet Lou Snider was thirty-one years old when she first sat behind the piano in the Polonaise Room; she's seventy-one today. Every Friday and Saturday night, as regular as rain, pint-size Lou boosts herself up onto her bench, a smoke-stained oil portrait of Chopin staring over her shoulder, and begins banging out songs precisely at the stroke of nine.Nye's will officially close April 3. Make sure to hoist one last cocktail to Sweet Lou.
Lou will take requests. She will also sing for you, but if you would like to sing, that would be just fine, too. It doesn't take long for a chorus to surround her—including warbling, bickering twin brothers Dan and Dean Oberpriller, one singing high, one singing low—passing around the microphone and rounds of drinks, belting out 'When I Fall in Love.'
Although she is too modest to announce the truth herself, Lou is believed to have thousands of songs ready to dance from her fingers, and she smiles warmly at just about every request, as though she hasn't already played "Unforgettable" eight million times, and wouldn't that be nice? (You might want to reconsider asking for 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin',' however. It's kind of a long story.)"