Jim Bean, owner of the Green Parrot Bar, died suddenly at his home in Excelsior, Minnesota, on July 31, 2010.
Jim was born December 6, 1946, and after graduating from Minnetonka High School (’64) he served valiantly in the Marines during Viet Nam, receiving the Purple Heart in recognition of his combat injuries. Back in Minnesota, his love for Lake Minnetonka was poured into his business, Greenwood Marina, and his restored Hackercraft, “Perseverance.”
Jim purchased The Green Parrot Bar on his birthday in 1983, using money squirreled away with dreams of building an enclosed porch on his house at the lake. Key West benefited greatly by his decision to go with the bar and not the porch.
With his wife Linda, they then began their love affair with the very local and sometimes rowdy corner saloon. While he was constantly upgrading the 120-year-old building, he never forgot that what gave The Parrot its universal appeal was keeping the local color intact and keeping what he referred to as the “salty” characters coming back. Jim relished the time he spent rubbing elbows with his customers, especially on the slower nights when he could simply enjoy the jukebox and a few games of 9-ball. Those who were fortunate enough spend time with him on those nights quickly went from being patrons to becoming dear friends.
He could not have been prouder when, in 2000, Playboy Magazine named The Green Parrot one of “The Best Bars in America,” stating that “The search for the definitive Key West Saloon ends at James Bean’s Green Parrot where…the management works tirelessly to avoid progress.” His famous passion for music can still be felt throughout the saloon, from the live entertainment, to the signed guitars on the walls, to the albums that he selected for the jukebox.
His passion for people and a boundless zest for life made him friends where ever he went.