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👕 Sneak peek: This year's East Lake Liquor shirt drops Friday

The iconic t-shirt has become the neighborhood's de facto uniform, with a new color scheme every year. We have the scoop on this year's look, which drops Friday.

Longfellow Whatever
3 min read
👕 Sneak peek: This year's East Lake Liquor shirt drops Friday

If Longfellow had a uniform, the top half would certainly be a logo tee from East Lake Liquor.

No summertime neighborhood stroll would be complete without one or two sightings. Pictures adorn the shop showing people wearing one on every mountain high and valley low. At a neighborhood event like Open Streets Minnehaha or National Night Out, the density is on yet another level — you’d be forgiven for thinking they're the primary sponsor. There's a reason your favorite neighborhood newsletter proudly aped the design for its own logo

And because the shirt comes in a new color scheme every year, it’s also a collectible. Like rings on a tree, wearing a given colorway is indelible proof that you’ve been part of neighborhood life for at least as long as that particular version has been around.

So it’s of top editorial priority for said neighborhood newsletter to give you the first glimpse at this year’s color scheme.

Which — you heard it here first, folks! — is cream with red lettering.

This year's East Lake Liquor shirt: Cream with red lettering.

The red-velvet-cake-evoking shirts will be available at the store starting Friday, and in stock throughout the summer.


About 20 years ago owner Matt Lerner, a third-generation Minneapolis liquor store proprietor, began providing the shirts to softball teams that the store sponsored. It was a simple design in the style of rec-league teams everywhere: The name in cursive, with a banner swooping down from the last letter to display the final word. He doesn't remember exactly how the original graphic came about; it may have been a stock design from the t-shirt printer.

Envious patrons who'd seen the softballers wearing the shirts around town started asking for their own. At first, Lerner told them he only had enough for the sponsored teams. But eventually, he gave in and began giving them out to loyal customers. The store has no website or social media; besides sponsoring community events, the shirt remains its only marketing tool.