I’m the youngest of two children in my family, so I can relate to The 7th Street Entry. It can be hard not to be overshadowed by your older, successful, city-defining venue of a sibling, but being true to yourself can allow you to offer your very own brand of magic to a family. The 7th Street Entry, debaucherous younger sibling to its iconic Siamese twin, First Avenue, is saturated with just as much musical history, but with an edge not found at a typical downtown venue.
The great thing about The Entry, as it’s known, is that the edge that makes it such an attractive venue to rock lovers and performers alike, does not define it. The local punk rock that helped establish the venue in the ‘80s and ‘90s survives alongside folk, acoustic, and hip hop shows that fit in just as well on the stage. The 250-person venue holds more than 350 shows annually, an impressive feat for the “younger sibling” venue, and those bills are filled with genre-spanning talent that seem to all embrace the independent spirit I’ve come to find synonymous with The Entry.
The room itself is black, with a single bar tucked into the corner that always has a $4 pounder beer special (it’s currently PBR). A single seated railing separates the floor in front of the stage from an elevated level for those not looking to join the mosh pit. The exterior is plastered with the names of performers that have graced the main room stage next door, though many cut their teeth playing at The Entry (think The Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Atmosphere).
Grab a Bite:
Despite the high density of nice restaurants in the surrounding blocks, you would likely feel phony seeing a show here after a nice three course dinner. My recommendation: stop at the attached Depot Tavern and peruse their excellent menu of greasy bar food that pairs so well with a few tall boys. The walls are covered in past and forthcoming concert posters, and the poutine is absurdly good. The 7th Street Entry is probably the Twin Cities venue I’ve consumed the most alcohol in, so a little extra food in the stomach is never a bad idea.
Being that Minneapolis nightlife revolves around First Avenue, or at least feels like it, getting to the venue is a piece of cake. Buses run Hennepin Ave. like it’s their job or something, and the Lightrail drops off two blocks down on 5th. Plus, there are the Twin City’s green blood cells, the Nice Ride Bicycles, that are rentable all around town and have plenty of parking stations nearby.
Due to the accessible downtown location, don’t be surprised if a drunk bachelorette party or group of Twins fans stumble in after a game thinking the cheap cover (tickets prices float between $6-$20) means it’s a good place to take a shot and budge to the front of the stage to dance for 10 minutes before moving on to a strip club.
If you haven’t bought tickets but think a show might sell out, arrive when doors open and grab a drink or snack at The Depot Tavern while you wait for music to start. There is a door connecting The Entry to The Depot and you can roam freely in between. Also, the bathrooms are much nicer in the Depot.
Don’t be too quick to run out the door after the show, as the smaller venue invites a lot of opportunities to interact with the artists after the show while picking up a record or T-shirt from the merch table.
Grunge sauna. Two private restrooms sit at the rear of the venue, but if you can’t get behind the idea of concrete and band stickers as decoration, you might be stuck holding it in. It is fun, however, to play the “guess the band sticker” game while you go, as there’s no shortage of subjects to choose from.