When talking about Minneapolis, the majority of people either think of the arts and culture, Mall of America, or its amazing music scene. However, live music is not all that evening entertainment in Minneapolis has to offer. Sure, Minneapolis usually isn’t the first city that you think of when we talk about clubs in the US, which doesn’t mean that it lacks a unique and exciting nightlife culture.
With that in mind, here’s a list of venues that are perfect for dancing your night away, having the time of your life, and getting to know Minneapolis by night.
1. Ground Zero
If, by any chance, you’re in Minneapolis on Saturday night, you shouldn’t miss out on an opportunity to visit Ground Zero. It’s an old-school goth meeting place encompassing everything from dancing and bondage shows to performance art. In other words, whatever your kinks and interests are, there’s probably an event scheduled in the upcoming weeks.
Another reason to visit Ground Zero is that there are so many theme nights, ranging from Halloween (regardless of how close it is to the actual holiday), Harry Potter, or the 80s. For anyone who likes the gothic aesthetic, there’s no better place to visit than Ground Zero. If you were to ask this question on any subreddit or forum, this is the most likely answer you would get.
The place is quite inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly, and there are even some themed nights for people of all identities and sexual orientations.
The bar is cash-only, but there are ATMs everywhere. If you are uncomfortable with this, you might want to prepare some cash in advance. As far as the costs go, the majority of people find the drinks to be reasonably priced.
2. The Exchange
This is one of the largest, most renowned, and one of the best night clubs in Minneapolis. Sure, the place is 7,200 square feet big, but even with this size, it has a sound system that can deliver an incredible dubstep night. It has some of the best sound and light systems on the continent, but these technical marvels are just a part of what makes the exchange so special.
The place also has two full bars, a dance floor, and VIP seating. In other words, it has an accessible drink delivery in multiple forms and an experience for every budget. Seeing this club from several different angles may give you a unique outlook on nightlife in Minneapolis.
Now, when it comes to the modern clubbing experience, one cultural phenomenon is often frowned upon or overlooked – taking photos for stories. For the majority of Gen Z-ers and even some millennials, if there’s no story, it’s like they didn’t even go out. Well, The Exchange not only recognizes but also fully embraces this concept, which is why they have a designated photo area.
3. The Saloon
The Saloon has something for every night of the week, and it’s arguably the best gay bar in the entire Minneapolis. Regardless if we’re talking about drag shows, guest DJs, or shower contests, there’s always something to do. On Monday, there’s usually a karaoke night, so if you’re not particularly shy and want to demonstrate your natural showmanship and talent, there’s your chance.
The bar is massive but it’s so well compartmentalized that it’ll often feel like several bars put into one. In other words, you get the best of both worlds – a huge club that often doesn’t feel so overwhelming and crowded.
The Saloon usually opens at noon and works until 2 AM (except on Friday and Saturday when it’s open until 3 AM). This gives you a lot of room to make a schedule, regardless of your obligations or if you’re just visiting.
Another notable thing about The Saloon is its amazing grill, which has everything from mozzarella sticks and mini corn dogs to chicken wings and cheese quesadillas. During happy hour, each appetizer is $1 off, while baskets are $2 off.
What receives the most praise is the staff, which is often praised by name in the majority of Google reviews.
4. Rev Ultra Lounge
Unlike some other entries on this list, the place is open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 PM to 2 AM, which, some might argue, makes it into a night club in the original sense (before the trend of weekday parties).
It even has that original night club wine with amazing smoke machines, a basement setting, and lights that are dimmed by default. Now, some complain about the dimmed lights; however, as long as you see them as a feature, there’s nothing wrong with it. In the era of the rapid evolution of the entertainment industry, a bit of nostalgia won’t hurt.
The biggest objection that a lot of people have is the fact that there are too many VIP tables and that this has significantly reduced the size of the dance floor. In other words, this is a downside only if you don’t intend to get a VIP table; in that case, it could even be considered a boon.
As far as the drinks go, this is probably the worst aspect of the club. The list of drinks available is pretty short, and they are a bit on the more expensive side. Still, that’s pretty much the clubbing experience in 2024 for you.
Ultimately, it’s all about the type of nightlife you’re expecting. What’s your budget? Do you want to be seated in a VIP area, or do you prefer hitting the dancefloor and staying there all night? How important are theme parties? Most importantly, what day do you plan to go out on, and how late do you want to go/stay?
The best thing is that, like restaurants, nightclubs do not expect exclusivity when it comes to loyalty. This means that you really don’t have to pick just one. In fact, if you have the time and money, you can visit each of these clubs within a single week. Just keep in mind that the repertoire for the night will affect your perception of the venue.