Sauce Spirits & Soundbar to cater to Uptown ears, stomachs

Polished look doesn’t scream Triple Rock or Turf Club, but many merits remain

âÄúAll the musicians âÄî I donâÄôt know if I should tell you this âÄî live from Franklin to Lake Street, Lyndale to Hennepin, every dang one of them.âÄù The above quote is from the late, great Bob Stinson of the Replacements in 1989. The area heâÄôs referring to, of course, is Uptown. A lotâÄôs changed since then. What was once an arts mecca is now home to a VictoriaâÄôs Secret, a North Face and countless condo developments geared toward yuppies who want to suckle at UptownâÄôs waning credibility teat. Can good, local music tear through the corporatization? Sauce – Spirits & Soundbar, which opened this past weekend, sure hopes so. And considering its prime Uptown real estate on Lyndale and Lake, itâÄôs got the ideal location to test it. The ratio of musicians to non-musicians in Uptown is still vast. It remains the locale where the rockers live, making it fitting that thereâÄôs finally a new venue. Sauce, which functions as an Italian restaurant/bar/venue hybrid celebrated its opening this past Friday and featured two of the cityâÄôs finer acts, The Guystorm and Military Special. The venue itself, on top of having an enviable location, is not bad on the eyes. Featuring a stripped-down, minimal veneer, the dining area takes on the look of an art gallery, which it will double as in the future. Attached to the dining room is the lounge/stage area. The room itself is ordinary, but the walls, which make up the northwest corner of the venue, are made entirely of windows, offering a great view on the intersection of Lyndale and Lake. ThereâÄôs a bar in each room, booths in the dining area and tables and couches in the lounge. As a whole, itâÄôs both comfortable and trendy, perhaps to a fault, considering the persnickety scenesters to which itâÄôs hoping to cater. According to their calendar, the good acts show no signs of waning. Building Better Bombs, Black Blondie and The Wars of 181 2 are all on future bills and help make up a sound for which owner Mike Riehle is aiming. âÄú[We] look to model ourselves after The Current,âÄù Riehle says, âÄúwhere thereâÄôs a wide array of music, but kind of a general point of view and quality level you expect them to maintain.âÄù Opening night for Sauce, by most accounts, was a success. âÄú[Things went] unbelievably smooth, despite all the chaos that comes with night one,âÄù Riehle says. The Guystorm frontman Angelo V. Pennacchio agrees. âÄúThe place was lots of fun,âÄù he said, âÄúbut it was a bit rushed.âÄù HeâÄôs referring, in part, to the fact that Sauce attained their liquor license mere hours before doors opened. That, combined with the sound system being, admittedly, incomplete. As for the future of Sauce, Riehle has admirable goals. âÄúI hope people will see us as the most comfortable rock club in the city, that just happens to have this really good pasta and pizza,âÄù he says. Pennacchio, who likens SauceâÄôs stage to that of The HexagonâÄôs, admires the establishmentâÄôs preliminary intentions. âÄúI hope this place can do well,âÄù he says, âÄúIt would be nice to have somewhere else in Uptown to play besides the Uptown Bar.âÄù The combination of good local music, pizza and booze seems a logical one. In terms of execution, Sauce appears to be doing everything right, thus far. With the recession still in full swing, the outlook for any night club is murky. HereâÄôs to hoping that Sauce has the fortitude to help keep the local scene active and entertained.