A Brick by any other name

by Tony


In the four months since their rocky opening, the folks at the Brick have been holding modest, successful concerts and working on a spate of renovations. Now, with sightlines and crowding reportedly improved, all that’s left to do is rebrand. The downtown Minneapolis venue has just announced a fresh start under a new name: Mill City Nights.

We reported on many of these now-complete renovations last April: a taller stage, a second staircase to ease congestion at the box office, a wider entrance, trough-style urinals and 20 high definition screens. General Manager Jeff Kehr told KARE 11 that the much-maligned upper level now hangs eight feet closer to the stage and features a tiered riser set-up. As in April, Kehr declined to tell reporters the cost of the improvements, but estimated that it was equivalent to the renovations corporate operators AEG Entertainment made to the club initially.

Mill City Nights has also dropped its capacity from around 2,000 to 1,200. The Star Tribune reports that this number does not include the 400-person bar on the lower level, as previous estimates did. Even so, this means a significant drop in capacity for Mill City Nights’ main room. It seems the club is turning into the intimate space a hundred Internet commenters said it was.

Like the new name implies, Mill City Nights comes with a renewed local focus. The new logo ditches the Brick’s guitar pick motif in favor of the Minneapolis skyline. Mill City Nights is also serving local craft beers from Summit, Fulton and Finnigan’s. Finally, a press release from the venue said that the basement bar area — redecorated and renamed the Nether Bar — will host small shows from local acts.

Overall, it’s a humbling move from the venue that was once touted as a First Avenue killer. The changes have been rolled out gradually, and although Mill City Night’s hasn’t attempted to host many high profile shows lately, Kehr says audiences have responded to them well.