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Meet the American who built America's first sports bar in St. Louis: World War II veteran Jimmy Palermo

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Jimmy Palermo grew up in a bootleg bar during Prohibition. rice field.

He returned to his hometown of St. Louis and achieved a Grand Slam as an American visionary in his hospitality.

He turned his father's pub into America's first sports his bar, claimed by his family and local sports fans.Palermo's Tavern at 3701 Sullivan Avenue in Gateway City 

} The family ran the pub from his 1933 to his 1966. 

It was at the forefront of an entirely new concept in American hospitality. Palermo's Tavern featured local beer, casual dining, sports memorabilia on the walls, and early sports from the TV age on display above the bar.

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Buffalo Wing, with a satellite connection, or a widescreen TV, Palermo's neighborhood tavern could earn the title of America's original sports bar.

Young Palermo is on as the publisher of the , which chronicles life on the Atlantic coast of central Florida, he is also a treasure trove of his family's fascinating legacy as an immigrant American saloon owner. 

Jimmy Palermo (at right, in white shirt) serves patrons from behind the bar at Palermo's Tavern. The sports-themed pub in St. Louis stakes a strong claim as America's first-ever sports bar. 

Jimmy Palermo (right, in white shirt) Serving patrons from behind the bar in a Palermo tavern, this sports-themed pub in St. Louis is firmly established as America's first sports bar.  ( Palermo Collection)

Jimmy Palermo (1920-2010) and his tavern were deeply rooted in the fabric of national entertainment, a legend in baseball lore. 

This ballpark was for decadesMajor League Baseball's It was home to the former St. Louis Browns of the American League and the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League. 

St. Louis was a rare two-team baseball town — Palermo was the hottest city in baseball's golden age. 

Palermo sat in a hot corner during the golden age of baseball.

"The home team and the visitors Both players on the team were walking right by the entrance to the bar on their way to the park," Tom Palermo told Fox News Digital. Told. 

Baseball heavy hitters such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams became regulars, further enhancing the pub's appeal as a sports-themed hotspot. 

A national sports bar phenomenon soon followed. 

Mary Palermo (far left) and Paul Palermo (second from right, in open vest) were immigrants from Sicily who got into the bar business in St. Louis. They're pictured with sons Jimmy (second from left) and Joe (far right). Jimmy turned Palermo's into what some say is America's first sports bar.

Mary Palermo (far left) and Paul Palermo (second from right, open vest) was an immigrant from Sicily who started his bar business in St. Louis. They are pictured with their sons Jimmy (his second from the left) and Joe (far right). Jimmy has called Palermo America's first sports bar. (Palermo Collection)

According to his IBIS World, which tracks consumer data across industries, there are more than 1,200 of her in the United States today. sports bar. 

Buffalo, the nation's largest sports bar operator. Wild Wings alone claims he has 1,300 sports bars in nine countries, most of them in the United States. .

"Sports is the universal language here," Pat Imig, his head of marketing for sports and lifestyles in St. Louis, told Fox News Digital. . 

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"We are the home of the Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch breweries. Baseball and beer—the first sports bar was a natural progression.”

Miner's son

Vincent "Jimmy" Palermo was born in St. Louis on September 20, 1920. was born in He grew up in the moonshine and baseball era. 

His parents, Paul and Mary, were immigrants from Sicily. Paul Palermo had a tough childhood working in a coal mine in southern Illinois. 

Vincent "Jimmy" Palermo, who operated America's first sports bar in St. Louis, grew up deeply immersed in the national pastime. He was a bat boy for the American League's St. Louis Browns; he's pictured here in 1933.

Vincent "Jimmy" in Palermo St. Louis America's first sports bar grew up deeply immersed in the national pastime. He was a batboy for the St. Louis Browns of the American League. He is pictured here in his 1933.(Palermo Collection)

When he was fifteen, he was scraping coal for a ton of nickel.” Tom Palermo writes. 

Elder Palmero left his dangerous life underground and headed for St. Louis, where he started a saloon business and began building his family. 

He and Mary had his two children, Vincent and Joseph, known as Jimmy. 

Lou Gehrig, the "Iron Horse," whacks a double into left center in a game at Yankee Stadium in 1938. The baseball legend is among those known to have frequented Palermo's Tavern when the N.Y. Yankees played in St. Louis.

Lou Gehrig, "The Iron Horse The baseball legend, who hit a double to left center in a 1938 game at Yankee Stadium, is known to frequent the Palermo Tavern when the New York Yankees were playing in St. Louis. (Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)

During Prohibition in 1919, Paul and Mary Palermo opened a restaurant. and ran a hot dog stand and lived with their boy in an apartment above surgery. 

They also sold dry goods, sweets, and illegal liquor. 

Young Jimmy got a job licking the labels of other products and pasting them on bottles of contraband liquor. 

Young Jimmy Palermo spent 15 years with the St. Louis Browns, eventually becoming clubhouse manager. 

At the same time, he started batboying across the street for the St. Louis Browns from the age of six.

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He spent 15 years with the team. and eventually rose to the clubhouse manager. He also hoped to start a career as a professional referee and work his way into the major leagues.

Then Uncle Sam called.

Jimmy Palermo in his Army dress uniform, Jan. 1943, with his mother Mary outside the tavern in St. Louis as he prepares to set off for Europe in WWII.

January 1943 in Army uniform Jimmy Palermo with his mother Mary outside a tavern in St. Louis as he prepares to leave for Europe in World War II. (Palermo Collection)

Palermo was drafted into the United States Army, trained as a medic, and sailed for England in 1943 to launch an invasion of Europe. I waited.

"He landed on his D-Day + 10," said Tom Palermo, ten days after his D-Day landing in France on June 6, 1944. rice field. 

He worked and eventually managed a field hospital treating American boys seriously wounded in combat.  

Palermo rarely spoke of his wartime experiences. 

Among other engagements, Palermo fought Allied forces, where he withstood a last-minute German attack in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

In classical fashion Palermo rarely spoke of his experiences during his war years. 

In this scene from the movie "Saving Private Ryan," directed by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks (as Captain John H. Miller) takes a moment alone. The powerful wartime drama inspired WWII veteran Jimmy Palermo to open up, finally, to his kids about his horrific wartime experiences.

Movie Saving Private Ryan, Steven Spielberg-directed Tom Hanks (Captain John H. Miller) spends some time alone. The powerful wartime drama inspired WWII veteran Jimmy Palermo to finally confide in children about his terrifying wartime experiences.(CBS via Getty Images)

A realistic portrayal of the horrors of combat. 

"My brother and I went to see a movie. We sat down with my father and had dinner and we were talking about it. 

His unit came under German artillery fire en route to the Battle of the Bulge by train. Pop Palermo was nearly killed. 

"Dad saw a lot of bloodshed."

He also talked about a shocking scene at one of the army field hospitals.

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His five weeks of the Battle of the Bulge. "Dad saw a lot of bloodshed," said Palermo. 

Baseball royalty

Palermo returned to St. Louis after the war, married Nadine Short in 1946, started a family and started his father's bar business. I was. 

He filled the walls with memorabilia from the Browns' Batboy days. Photos of ballparks, gloves, caps and bats used by baseball's greatest athletes. 

Jim Palermo (right) was a brother-in-law of Yankees legend Yogi Berra (far left). Their wives, Carmen Short Berra and Nadine Short Palermo, were sisters. This image was taken during a Tony Bennett performance at the Copacabana in New York City in the fall of 1952.

Jim Palermo (right) Yankees legend Yogi Berra's daughter-in-law (far left), who was the brother of Their wives, Carmen Short Vera and Nadine Short Palermo, were sisters. This image was taken during Tony Bennett's performance at Copacabana in New York City in the fall of 1952.(Palermo Collection)

Perhaps most notably, legendary Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. The two met in the Browns' clubhouse during Williams' 1939 rookie year. 

Palermo even counted baseball royalty in his family. 

St. Louis native and Yankees legend Yogi Berra was his brother-in-law. Nadine Palermo and Bella's wife Carmen were sisters.

For the most part, Palermo set out to serve St. Louis' loyal baseball fans.

View of a Farnsworth table model television receiver, in a Lucite cabinet to show the components, 1949.

Farnsworth table model showing view components of television receiver Lucite cabinet for 1949.(PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Palermo has truly become a sporting his bar with the advent of television. Post-WWII entertainment scene. 

Palermo quickly embraced the latest technology and saw the potential benefits to his business, his son said.

Palermo counted baseball royalties to his family. Yankees legend Yogi Berra from St. Louis was his brother-in-law. 

He began installing his 12-inch black-and-white Farnsworth television set around the bar in 1947, one of the earliest televisions sold in America. 

He continued to update the bar's television technology as it improved. By the late 1940s, Palermo's visitors discovered the atmosphere and charm now recognized as the hallmark of American sports bars.

It was full of sports memorabilia. It was frequented by the notables of great athletes. The bar room provided his entertainment including pool, pinball and shuffleboard. 

Guests enjoyed the ballpark's casual favorites, including hot dogs, hamburgers and fried his potatoes, and quenched their thirst withlocal beers by making.

Rose Palermo (who married into the family) pours soda at the hot dog stand outside Palermo's Tavern. The pub, across from former St. Louis Major League Baseball stadium Sportsman's Park, is considered America's first sports bar.

Rose his Palermo (married to his family ) pour soda at a hot dog stand outside a Palermo tavern. Across from the former St. Louis Major League Baseball Stadium Sportsman's Park, this pub is considered America's first sports bar. (Palermo Collection)

Palermo's taverns quickly became the top places in town for boxing matches and baseball on the subway. It was a unique concept in American hospitality. 

"Not as much as the Palermo family claiming to be 'America's first sports bar,'" says Imig, his consultant at St. Louis Hospitality. .  

"My mother and father were pioneers." There are bars, including one called Sportsman's Park. Sportsman's Park is named after the stadium that made St. Louis a baseball hotbed and a Palermo tavern a baseball field. American original. 

"Proud of what they have achieved."

Vincent "Jimmy" Palermo died on December 1, 2010 at the age of 90. 

He was a two-time conflict veteran who interrupted his career for the second time in 1950 to serve in the Korean War.

Palermo's Tavern, dubbed Americans first sports bar, was located at 3701 Sullivan Ave. in St. Louis, across from the city's famous Major League Baseball arena Sportsman's Park. It's now the Sit & Sip Cocktail Lounge. 

Palermo's first American sports bar Located at 3701 Sullivan Avenue in St. Louis, across from Sportsman's Park, the city's famous Major League Baseball Arena. This became the Sit &amplifier. Enjoy our cocktail lounge.  (Pat Imig/Imig Communications)

He served his last hot dog and cold beer in Palermo in 1966. Today we will sit down and have a cocktail at the & lounge in Palermo's Tavern He 3701 Sullivan Ave. occupy the site.

The Browns left town in 1953 and Baltimore became the Orioles. The Cardinals moved him in 1966 to a new arena across town, Busch Stadium. 

After the 1965 season, Palermo was no longer the center of Midwestern sport.   

Jimmy Palermo, a World War II and Korean War veteran who operated America's first sports bar, died in 2010 at age 90. He's buried today at Bushnell National Cemetery in Florida. 

Jimmy Palermo, World The World War II and Korean War veteran who ran America's first sports bar died in 2010 at the age of 90. He is buried today at Bushnell National Cemetery in Florida.  (Palermo Collection)

Jimmy His Palermo has closed its tavern and other properties, including a large St. Louis nightclub and various real estate holdings. devoted itself to the business of 

He and Nadine retired to Florida in 1986. 

He was buried at Bushnell National Cemetery in Florida. Beneath that gravestone are inscribed his service to the U.S. Army in two separate conflicts.


1970'S Satellite TV. 

Sports fans filled the bars to enjoy the games that were not available on local television. 

Los Angeles His Rams football star, Denise Hara, opened a pub called The Legend in 1979 in Long Beach, California. It bills itself as America's first "modern" sports bar and is a sort of cap-chip to the legacy pioneered by Palermo's taverns and others.


My father was a pioneer," said Palermo. ``They were in the right place at the right time. We are very proud of what they have achieved.

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