The 400 Bar is closing its West Bank location

Categories: Venue Spotlight
Photo by Erik Hess
Here's METZ opening for Archers of Loaf back in August at the 400 Bar.
With 2012 breathing its final breaths, so is a West Bank landmark and live music institution. The 400 Bar, located at 400 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis, is closing its doors after 17 years of hosting live music in its intimate environs under the management team of Tom and Bill Sullivan. And after several years of shows prior to that.

In recent months, the gritty bar had hosted a diminishing slate of shows -- which admittedly were filled with plenty of sweaty evenings of indie rock lore. Archers of Loaf, Mission of Burma, and a two-night stand for Conor Oberst's punk side project Desaparecidos all hit the space in 2012. The Sullivans recently shifted to co-promoting role with AEG Live for a pair of shows as "400 Bar Presents" that had grown larger than the 400's walls -- Cat Power and Sufjan Stevens -- at Mill City Nights.

See Also:
Cat Power at Mill City Nights, 10/30/12
Desaparecidos at 400 Bar, 8/9/12
Archers of Loaf at the 400 Bar, 8/25/12

According to a report in the Star Tribune, the building was sold to Abdighani M. Ali, an assistant director of the north Minneapolis charter school Banaadir Academy and a Somali and Muslim community leader and could be turned into a new charter school. This information is according to Joe O'Brien, the Sullivans' business partner. The club will probably relocate, O'Brien says.

When reached by City Pages, Tom Sullivan confirmed that they'd be looking to do live music in a new location, but didn't comment on whether they'd retain the 400 Bar name. A rather extensive history of notable shows at the venue exists here at live show devotee Kyle Matteson's Facebook page.

Photo by Erik Hess
Conor Oberst gave a heartfelt thanks to the Sullivans during Desaparecidos' two-night stand at 400 this year.
Here's the message on the 400 Bar's site:
After 17 years of presenting shows, we've closed the old building on the West Bank. Thanks to all the great music fans and artists who've worked so hard to make the 400 what it is. An online auction featuring some of the club's memorabilia starts Friday at 7:00pm on this page. See you in 2013!
As soon as we know exactly what is up for bids, this could get interesting. Based upon this photo, you could soon be the proud owner of a cigarette machine or some time-worn benches.

For a place long and proudly known for hosting artists before they broke big -- from Elliott Smith to Mumford & Sons -- it appears that Spider John Koerner and Tony Glover's November 26 show at the 400 was the last one for the West Bank location.

We will update this posting with more information soon.

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My Voice Nation Help

this is called Karmic law kicking them right in the balls, and good for them.
Never had a good experience there once, as a fan or a musician, glad to see them go, 1 less place run by sleazeballs trying to screw bands over.

MNjoe topcommenter

My favorite show there was The Clams in 198?.


Good riddance to this place. Maybe it was cool decades ago...but there's so many awesome venues in town. There's no good reason to be sad about this. 

Every time I played here, the bands got ripped off. Every time I went to see a show here, I got pissed off (outrageous drink prices, no reentry, dickish staff). And I've never met promoters that seemed to hate the local music scene as much as the Sullivans. 

Kent Kampa
Kent Kampa

17 years? I remember going there back in the 80s.

Anthony Auston
Anthony Auston

saw some great shows there back in the day: Low's "Secret Name" release party, Dirty Three, GYBE, the list goes on. Special little room.

Christine Mlodzik
Christine Mlodzik

Terrible news, I hope they aren't planning to put a Wal-Mart in its place.


The 400 Bar has been putting on shows a lot longer than 17 years. That
period is just when the Sullivan brothers ran the show booking-wise, but
live music has been presented there for at least 30 years, if not more.
See a photo on the back of The Jayhawks' first album from the
mid-1980s-- live at The 400 Bar, almost 30 years ago.

Chaz Kangas
Chaz Kangas

Wow, I remember reading a neon flyer for it back on 2000 that had then-obscure Papa Roach and MC Paul Barman playing back-to-back nights.

Amy E Fisher
Amy E Fisher

you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

ReedFischer moderator

@gojohnnygo Thanks for the clarification on that. 17 years did seem short to me as I was typing it.

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