Top 10 Twin Cities hipster bars featuring local live music

Categories: Lists

Photo by Erik Hess
With an endless supply of watering hole options in Minneapolis and St. Paul, it's gotta be hard for a discerning music fan to make a call on which bar he or she is going to wander into, order a beer, and get some quality live entertainment. The pressure of narrowing down the options is daunting, which is why Gimme Noise compiled an ultimate short list to go have a PBR or two, and hear tasteful music performed by talented folks they recognize from the organic grocer, the fair-trade coffee shop, and definitely other bars on the list. (RIP, Uptown Bar.)

Here's our top ten bars in the Twin Cities with local music on tap.

See Also:
The 14 Twin Cities college bands you need to hear
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians

Photo by Ryan Cutler
10. Amsterdam Bar and Hall
6 W. 6th St., St. Paul

The Amsterdam Bar and Hall has added notable intrigue to its downtown St. Paul surroundings. Aside from the Dutch-inspired cuisine and drinks (Curried yam kroket, anyone?), the Amsterdam follows the same calendar format that its sister club the 331 does: easy, approachable music that doesn't scare anyone away, plus some Trivia Mafia sprinkled in each week for good measure. With two stages and multiple configurations for the large, welcoming room, and Eclipse Records right next door, it's a veritable compound at Wabasha and 6th Street. What would we do without it? Plus, the Amsterdam may be the only honest-to-God bar in town that has Heineken, Amstel Light, and Duvel on tap. They were serious about the Dutch thing, guys. Really serious.

Photo by Hilary Stein
9. Memory Lanes and Flashback Café
101 Glenwood Ave. N., Minneapolis

Herein lies the magic of Memory Lanes: some good old-fashioned bowling alongside local music -- with a decked-out stage in the middle of the lanes. With the ironic flair of the bowling shoes, and a third pitcher of beer, it's awful close to heaven. The cherry on top comes with the Flashback Café, which ensures that no matter how many Jameson-gingers you toss back, there will always be tater-tots available. Punk Bowl goes down every Monday, Rock 'n' Roll Bingo settles in on Wednesday, but rockin' times are had every day of the week.

Photo by Steve Cohen
8. Lee's Liquor Lounge
101 Glenwood Ave. N., Minneapolis

It's hard to pinpoint what the best part of Lee's Liquor Lounge is: the old-school paneling on the walls, the brown-and-cream-checkered tile floor, the taxidermy, the neon signs and pink stage lights, or the history of the bar itself that traces back several decades now. Maybe it's that when you step into Lee's, you kind of feel like you just stepped into a Texas roadhouse, minus the accents and the cowboy boots. The music at Lee's is as dependable as the drinks there, featuring entertainment in one form or another every night of the week. Between monthly appearances by a Johnny Cash tribute band (Church of Cash), a Van Morrison tribute band (the Belfast Cowboys), Classic Country Mondays, and a GLBT Country Barn Dance, there's never a bad night at this low-key joint.

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