Two of Minneapolis' favorite music-centric watering holes, Palmer's Bar and the 331 Club, are both open for business again but won't be hosting performances indoors anytime soon. Good thing they each have the space to take the music outside.
Palmer's has announced a new reserved-seat concert series on its 2,700-square-foot patio. The shows start April 30 with the return of (gulp!) Gay Witch Abortion, followed by performances by Silverback Colony, Nato Coles & the Blue Diamond Band, Annie & the Bang Bang, Pretty Boy Thorson and more, plus weekly appearances by old West Bank regulars the Front Porch Swingin' Liquor Pigs.
All the Palmer's gigs are being booked by local musician and scene fixture Christy Costello, who's also the talent buyer at Dusty's Bar (which is holding off on music for now). About 60 tickets per show will be sold via Eventbrite.com.
"There's just no way we could safely cram people into our tiny (indoor) stage area right now, as much as we'd love to," said Palmer's owner Tony Zaccardi, a musician himself. "This gives us a way to offer live music — which we know our customers love — and help some bands finally make some money again, too."
Even with live music still a few weeks off, though, Zaccardi sounded downright elated to have his historic bar open again after being closed all winter due to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
"People are just happy to be here, seeing other people in person, getting back into this old, familiar place," he said. "It's been heartwarming."
The 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis reopened on Monday after being closed since last fall, but like Palmer's the space inside is too small to comfortably host live gigs until bars can operate at full capacity again. Thus, co-owner Jarret Oulman said they plan to begin offering no-cover "busking-style" performances on the expanded patio once the weather warms and they settle in on safely hosting customers again.
"We're kind of taking a wait-and-see approach, but music always has been and will remain a big part of what the 331 is about," he said.
Oulman's team also operates the Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown St. Paul, which is also now reopen again for both drinks and food. They hope to host more full-scale live music indoors there starting within a few months.
And that's not all: The Oulmans are also working on opening a new watering hole in May, the White Squirrel Bar on West 7th Street in St. Paul, with plans to eventually host no-cover live music gigs there, too.
Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658