Report: Fine Line Music Café sold to owners of Aqua

Categories: Nightlife
Photo by Erik Hess
The Fine Line Music Café has been sold to the owners of Aqua Nightclub & Lounge. According to the club's website, the new ownership and management by Minneapolis Event Centers operated by Entourage Events Group begins on August 6. The sale comes not long after the venue's 25th birthday last November and less than a year after longtime national talent buyer Kim King departed to work at the Cabooze after 12 years at the club.

In an interview with Gimme Noise last year, owner Dario Anselmo seemed like he knew a decision like this was coming for the 750-capacity downtown club. "I think the Fine Line... it'll be part of a larger music scene," he said. "I see it being here, but it being part of something else, to make sure it's got an extended life. Maybe part of two or three clubs, not necessarily a national promoter, just a place that makes sure that people have a unique experience." Now it's a little more clear what he meant by that.

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Photo by Erik Hess
Last week, Greg Burke wrote a brief message regarding the situation in Thursday's TC Club Crawl email, and the reports of the sale began to spread. "Let's hope the new owners of The Fine Line keep some of the great people who have worked there for years, some more than a decade!" he wrote. "All existing shows are on for now and any possible changes are up in the air at this point."

On Monday the Fine Line's current staff members were interviewed by the new owners, upscale nightclub honchos Jado and Steve Hark, according to reports. Judging by the events that have already started showing up on future dates at the cub, there could be a serious change in tone and personnel. Take the Twin Cities 1st Annual Black & White Tie Event, which includes a dress code and VIP section in its listing. However, the event is not presented on the current Fine Line calendar, suggesting that different leadership is already working on events.

"There weren't as many when I came in [at the Fine Line], and the structure and the cost to do music has really gone up," said Anselmo, who is expected to remain as landlord for the building housing the Fine Line. "There's a lot of bands [now], but the actual cost, from a club standpoint, has changed so much -- meaning they've gone up. It's an expensive business to be in, and there's a lot that goes into it. It's definitely a bigger challenge than it was 18 or 19 years ago. There's more from the weekend standpoint -- there are more places that play live music than full-time live music clubs... You've got so many places. It's a bigger challenge."

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