Warehouse hotspot boasts European flair and out-of-the-ordinary entertainment
The Lounge, 411 2nd Ave. N., 333-8800
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, 8 p.m.-2 a.m.
Cover: Friday and Saturday, $8; Thursday and Sunday, $5; Sundays after midnight, $7 Mix candles and comfy couches with a belly dancer and a singing drag queen and what do you get? A Warehouse District bar dripping with style - and an equally heavy dose of clubbers wanting to make "the scene."
No doubt about it, The Lounge knows how to throw a party. Its music, ambiance and service are top of the line if you're looking for that upscale, European feel. If not, you may want to knock this place off its high horse, or just head to your friendly watering hole instead.
With its high ceilings and brick interior, The Lounge is true to its Warehouse roots. And three separate rooms lend this beautiful club extra intrigue - like three different, hoppin' clubs in one.
DJs regularly spin hip-hop and House music, mixing in nights of
R & B, reggae, salsa and other tunes from around the world.
"A little something for everybody," said Caleb, the club's manager (who prefers to go by his Christian name).
Besides dancing and drinking, The Lounge offers some out-of-the-ordinary entertainment. A magician, belly dancer, percussionist and drag queen spice up Friday and Saturday nights, each putting on their own short little show. On alternating nights, each gender gets a special treat when a scantily clad, attractive specimen hops up on the stage and busts a move.
This club's patrons are the true Jekyll-and-Hyde of the Minneapolis bar scene; most describe themselves as regulars, yet insist they'd prefer to brush shoulders with a less snooty crowd.
Angela and Kate, both 26, say they've been coming to The Lounge since they were legal. They say they like the opportunity to dress up for a night on the town, and appreciate the club's atmosphere and variety. "This place is always changing. I love it," Angela said.
However, both agreed that their club company could be better. Kate said The Lounge attracts "pretentious" souls.
"It's very uppity," Angela added.
Lounge-goer Nathaniel, 22, said the club fills a different Downtown niche. "If you're more of The Lodge bar or Drink type of person, you wouldn't like it here," said Nathaniel, referring to the popular mainstays bracketing 6th & Hennepin. "It's a really cool bar if you like European music."
Nathaniel added that he especially appreciates the "international crowd," music and attractive women.
Some might read "international" and "European" as "stuck up," but make no mistake - these people have fun. A bit past midnight, the main dance floor is packed. Guys line the bar, girls shake it amidst fog and lights, and couples chat on the sidelines.
Those looking for special treatment can rent a VIP booth or entire room for $50-$300. At the top of the line is The Cathedral room. Bouncers guard the black-curtained entrance, allowing you and 60 of your closest friends to party amongst candles and stained glass in peace, and enjoy the private bar.
Such red-carpet service may alienate thriftier souls, but it seems to make big spenders feel right at home.
As Chadwick, 31, put it, "If you're willing to spend the money, they're willing to come out and give you the service you want."
Even in the dead of winter, skimpy tank tops and short skirts slink in through The Lounge doors. However, nice jeans, sweaters and collared shirts are just as likely to cover the crowd as leather pants and fur coats.
The Lounge does have a dress code, but as long as you steer clear of oversized clothes, athletic apparel and tennis shoes you'll be OK. (Officially, men can't wear white sneakers or tennis shoes. Jeans are OK, provided they're "nice and properly fitting.")
Drinks and dollars
Age-wise, mid- to late 20- and early 30-somethings dominate, but as 20-somethings flirt at the bar, middle-aged couples can often be found cuddling on the couches.
Hold on to your wallets - this night is going to cost you.
Weekends, you have to fork over $8 just to get in the door. Drinks range from about $5 to $9, with beer and rail drinks on the lower end and high-end booze soaring even higher.
As for happy hours or nighttime specials, only the ladies get a break, and it's a brief one: gals get free champagne Thursdays and Sundays, 9-11 p.m.
Also, no food is served here. But for those needing to soak up the night's activities, Pizza Luc is just around the corner.
If you're tired of laid-back, beer-sipping nights and up for an out-of-the-ordinary night out, drop in to The Lounge. Be prepared to drop a few bucks, though, and don't expect that cute girl or boy at the bar to be real friendly.