On Sunday, the Uptown Bar in Minneapolis closes for good. The neighborhood has changed so much since I first moved down here twenty years ago, but the Uptown has always (and long before that) been a mainstay. It's not closing due to poor business, but instead because the owner has decided to sell the property to redevelopers. Because the guy is doing it to provide financial security for his family, no one is really vilifying him, justly so. It's a noble reason, even if the nobility will result in more generic chains coming into an area that was once upon a time cooler than cool.
Was I a regular? Not in the least. Since I moved to St Paul twelve years ago I've only been a handful of times. Even when I was living in Uptown it wasn't that much of a consistent haunt compared to First Avenue. But I went quite often to see bands, usually fellows I knew. Sometimes my friends and I just went for drinks or food, which never disappointed. But mixed into the ordinary were a few extraordinary moments, footnotes in my life, moments where if I hadn't gone there, this whole thing might not have happened. It's all for the good, even if at the time some experiences were surreal or even ill-advised. It was all part of the path.
A few people far more eloquent than I have made some keen observations of the place, which for musicians and patrons alike could easily be called iconic.
A Night at the Uptown
I am likely going to miss out on a chance to say goodbye in person, but it will be in my thoughts, as will groups like Dogshine, the Drovers, and even Dumpster Juice, all who I saw on the Uptown stage. They have a petition happening now to maintain the liquor license in case a new venue is found, but the building itself will soon be a rubbled memory, and its ghosts without a place to rest.