This is THE place to hear live jazz in downtown Minneapolis. The Dakota spotlights national and local jazz, blues and other genres in an intimate, club-like setting. We saw New Orleans bluesman Jon Cleary, and Dr John here not long ago and both were fabulous. They also serve good food but I wouldn't recommend it unless it's a special occasion: a dinner tab for two, with drinks +tip, can hit the three-digit mark. Entrees run around the $27+ with desserts averaging about $8. There is a short, less expensive roster of appetizers and sandwiches (steakburgers: $14) for hungry penny-pinchers, though, and a lighter lunch menu. They also have Foodie Nights with tasting menus, wine specials and cover-free entertainment.
That said, come for the music and a couple of drinks. Tickets are priced according to the notoriety of the band. Ask for a table upstairs on the railing or right in front of the stage for best sightlines. Minneapolis folks are sort of an early-to-bed bunch so tickets for the first set sometimes costs more than for the second as they're more apt to sell out.
Hint: If you have tickets for the first show and they haven't filled the second one, you can sometimes stay for the 2nd set for free. They'll clear the room and you have to check in for another table but it's really nice when it's a great band that you'd like to hear more of. They'll announce it at the end of the first set if there will be open seats for the later show.
Dress Code: No dress code but people dress up rather than down for this venue. I wouldn't go in your grubbies.
I would highly recomend this bar for live music, they have a resident band Dr Mambos Combo every Sunday and Monday night and they are amazing! The drummer used to be in Princes band the NPG.
They often have special guests on stage with them, one of the nights I was there Jelly Bean Johnston from The Time ( The Original 7ven) got on stage with them ..... My musical hero and my reason for being in Minneapolis is also known for jammin with them every now and then and was in the bar one of the nights I was there!
The bar staff are extremely welcoming and friendly and I felt nothing but comfortable the whole night on both occasions that I was in the bar.
I found the people of Minneapolis extremely friendly and very interested in chatting to me and finding out why I was in the city and offering help freely with directions , places to go etc.
All in all....I LOVE MINNEAPOLIS!
Dress Code: No dress code, as casual or smart as you like...but as you may bump into a superstar I would suggest making an effort ;-)
O’Donovan’s was the first Irish Pub in Minnesota and was actually built in Ireland and shipped piece by piece to the United States. At weekends the pub comes to life with live folk music and is also well renowned for its authentic Irish dishes.
The night I was there the music was provided by “A Little Of The Ready”, the group’s music is a mix of Irish and Scottish folk favourites and was very well received by the audience.
Sunday to Saturday: 11.00 am to 2.00 am
Sophia's is a live jazz restaurant in the St. Anthony Main area. It features a very elegant interior, with tables surrounding the piano and with the main focus of attraction being the piano and performer(s) of the evening. The entire place has a certain 1940's lady-sitting-on-the-piano-with-a-microphone feel.
Sophia's is a great place for a romantic evening. Plates are $30+. Crowd is mainly 30-and-up professionals, absolutely no children. Reservations are not necessary but they are recommended. Ask for a table with a view of the skyline. A cab from a downtown hotel will run you about $5 - $7. Parking is available at 24-hour meters but it's well worth the quarters to visit this place if you like live jazz.
Dress Code: Dress how you like - you won't be turned away for wearing jeans (although I'd suggest leaving the tennis shoes at home).
Small intimate place to see a live show. This is not quite your typical Minnesota club. It is more upscale and serves food also. They do have quite a diverse mix of bands playing here. I have seen Buckwheat Zydeco and some smaller alternative bands but they also schedule jazz and folk musicians.
They have a gospel brunch on Sunday which is fabulous.
Dress Code: Business Casual is how I would explain this place. Nice jeans and a sweater are acceptable.