7 Top Minneapolis Clubs

Enjoy music and cocktails at some of the best clubs in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

By Donna Tabbert Long, ContributorJuly 7, 2017
By Donna Tabbert Long, ContributorJuly 7, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

7 Top Minneapolis Clubs

First Avenue & 7th St Entry

Prince loved to perform at First Avenue & 7th St Entry, Minneapolis' most iconic rock club.(Courtesy of Darin Kamnetz)

From hip and high-energy dance tunes to soothing jazz, Twin Cities nightclubs have a little bit of everything. Minneapolis-St. Paul may be the city of Prince and the famous First Avenue club where he often performed, but "we have a lot of other places and smaller bars with live music, too," says Kristen Montag, senior public relations and communications manager at Meet Minneapolis, the city's tourism association.

In addition, bartenders are shaking up creative twists on the classics while adding some amazing craft cocktails to the mix – keeping dancers hydrated and sideline observers happy. To help visitors choose a good fit for some nighttime club action, local experts shared their favorite places around town.

Honey

This popular dance club in northeast Minneapolis "has the feel of a New York speak-easy," says Liisa Soulak, director of guest services at the Radisson Blu Mall of America.

Dark, candlelit and crowded, the small space resembles a dive bar while the cocktails add a touch of swank. Order a classic Sazerac or a creative Gojito, a gin and ginger beer take on a mojito. The music is as diverse as the young crowd, from regularly scheduled DJ dance nights with '90s music to local bands playing indie rock. Get there early on dance nights, or prepare to wait in line. Dress up or down. Honey doesn't judge.

There's a cover charge most nights. Honey is only open evenings. Check the online calendar for hours and information about upcoming shows.

Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant

"I love the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant," says Kirk Williams, concierge at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis and a self-proclaimed jazz fanatic. With its balcony tables, dark bar and highly regarded restaurant, it's a popular sit-down-and-listen-to-music spot in downtown Minneapolis. Its main focus is jazz, and it hosts lots of local acts as well as touring greats like Roy Hargrove. But the club also books performers in other genres – from folk to R&B.

Its signature cocktails, fine wine list and food menu are as good as the music it showcases, Williams says.

The club is open nightly. On nights with two shows, the kitchen stays open through the first half of the second show. Check the online music calendar to see whether performances are ticketed or charge a cover.

Kitty Cat Klub

"My personal favorite club for dancing and music is the Kitty Cat Klub," says Duygu Andrews, guest experience manager at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown. "It has a very funky Bohemian atmosphere, with exposed brick walls and candles everywhere."

The club's decor and vibe fit perfectly with its location near the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. Young couples cuddle on comfy couches in the little warren of rooms, and when the tables are moved and the music begins, the dance action breaks out. A diverse lineup of live music usually features local bands going until 2 a.m.

The club serves appetizers and entrees along with cocktails and beer at the bar. It's open daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. and charges a cover for select shows.

Icehouse

It's difficult to fathom that this urban-chic beauty of a restaurant, bar and music venue is a century-old former warehouse that once stored blocks of ice. Located on Nicollet Avenue, it's on the southern end of a 17-block area locally referred to as Eat Street in Minneapolis.

The club mixes dance parties with live music seven days a week, and some days it hosts as many as three shows. But "what I love about it is they have this balcony that wraps all the way around and there is not a bad view of the stage," Williams says. Icehouse prides itself on its top-shelf whiskey selection, and its creative cocktails are some of the best in town. Try the Little Richard, a frothy punch drink with a photo of the famed singer floating on top.

Icehouse is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Cover charges vary for music performances.

First Avenue & 7th St Entry

First Avenue & 7th St Entry(Courtesy of Darin Kamnetz)

Minneapolis' most iconic rock club, First Avenue & 7th St Entry is where Prince loved to perform and where part of his 1984 flick "Purple Rain" was filmed, says Conor Casey, concierge at the Loews Minneapolis Hotel. Stop by to see the silver stars painted on its famous black exterior, each inscribed with the name of a singer or group who performed there (Prince's star is now painted gold). Or enjoy a live show. Either way, local experts agree: You need to go there.

Inside the legendary club, Prince preferred performing in its theatrical and cavernous Mainroom, but the club's smaller 7th St Entry venue has hosted plenty of other musicians, too.

Cocktails and a good selection of beer are served. Check the online calendar for upcoming performances and to buy tickets.

Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Amsterdam Bar & Hall(Courtesy of Amsterdam Bar & Hall)

In downtown St. Paul, Amsterdam Bar & Hall attracts indie rock hipsters with live music and DJs seven days a week, says Montag, who recommends the venue.

The establishment uses wall dividers to change the open room's configuration from a cozy spot for 125 dancegoers to a larger party hall for 600. Comfy booths and bar seating accommodate those ordering off the Netherlands-inspired menu. You'll find little Dutch sandwiches called "broodjes" accompanied with a beer (there's many Dutch and Belgian options) or a craft cocktail like The Flying Dutchman, but the place is also known for its gin selection and gin flights.

It's open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and serves food until closing.

Fine Line Music Cafe

This small live music venue has been a downtown Minneapolis fixture since 1987, and it's still one of the go-to clubs in the city for an eclectic mix of musical acts.

Booking a number of local bands along with the likes of John Mayer and Lady Gaga, Fine Line Music Cafe's bilevel space can sometimes feel extremely comfortable and intimate, or extremely packed and crazy. Two full bars pour a fair number of craft beers on tap along with standard cocktails, but the food served depends on the show as each is set up differently. Hours vary, and events are ticketed.

To experience more of what Minneapolis-St. Paul has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Donna Tabbert Long, Contributor

Donna Tabbert Long is an award-winning freelance travel journalist and photographer. Her work ...  Read more

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