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For the thirsty ears

Got the bar band blues? Check out these Minneapolis bars for a bounce in your drunken stumble
For the thirsty ears
Image by Erin Westover

No one here is knocking the Dinkytown bar scene. The majority of us are pretty damn broke, so there’s not a lot to complain about when a bar like the Library can sell Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys for a bone and also sling some free bacon your way.

However, for the kid who simply cannot do another ’80s night or make it through another screeching and slurred karaoke rendition of “Party in the U.S.A.,” there are some enlightening aural alternatives just a stone’s throw away from campus.


Lee’s Liquor Lounge

Glenwood Avenue & 12th Street North

Lee’s owner Louis Sirian is damn sure that Lee’s Liquor Lounge is the best kernel of honky tonk and Rockabilly sounds in the Twin Cities.

“It’s built for music,” Sirian said, “Not a bad seat in the house.”

For those interested in that ’50s level musical kitsch, Lee’s is the place to be jiving around in your white buckskin shoes.

The Lounge’s drink menu may not exactly be the reason for sojourning over to North Glenwood. However, Sirian does maintain his beer is as “cheap as anywhere else in town.”

Yet, it’s the entertainment that is undoubtedly the fulcrum of attraction. California’s Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys will be slapping some hard upright bass on Sept. 18.

For anyone else just interested in a more bizarre cure for the common ’80s night, Lee’s offers Rockabilly swing nights every Wednesday.

Bunker’s Bar & Grill

Where: North Washington & North 8th Avenues

This warehouse district staple has long been known for its nightly offerings of local reggae, soul and funk acts.

Apparently, sporadic Prince visits have become urban legend at this place.

With weekly acts by GB Leighton and the International Reggae All-Stars, it won’t be hard to find some sweet satisfaction for your inner jam desires.

Their weekly offerings of blue plate lunch specials acts as an even more inviting reason to travel out to Bunker’s. Ears and appetites will surely be rewarded.

Dakota Jazz Club

Where: Nicollet Mall & 10th Street South

The Dakota Jazz Club may push the spending limits of some students. However, those interested in hitting the bottle around some more cultured clientele will not be disappointed.

The venue’s signature drink list is loaded with Coltrane puns and Miles Davis allusions. Such playfulness should be welcomed in this art-deco influenced interior.

However, this is somewhat secondary to an experience that is defined by the cabaret seating and resulting stellar acoustics. It will be quite easy to comfortably catch every spastic snare drum tap all while sipping on bitches brew, the club’s Davis-inspired brandy-sour.

With a pastiche of house bands along with a calendar of national acts, the Dakota Jazz Club promises to consistently surprise, kind of like jazz.

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