Turf Club and Clown Lounge

W16012 University Ave., St. Paul (651) 647-0486

What, on the outside, appears to be just another St. Paul dive is, once inside, St. Paul’s biggest surprise. Aside from the endless nights of great music (let us pause for a moment and think of the recently departed (for New York) Tulip Sweet and her Trail of Tears, there is also the notorious Clown Lounge. Head on down into the basement and look for painting after painting of white-faced, wide-smiled, red-nosed harlequins, sit back in the comfortable booths, and order yourself a particularly silly mixed drink (anything with cherries and umbrellas will do). This is the epicenter of Twin Cities cool, so don’t mind it if the ground starts shaking a little – it’s just aftershocks from the latest, and grandest, night of live performance.

– Max Sparber