The Blue Nile, a restaurant and bar in Minneapolis’s Seward neighborhood that’s long been a staple of the local music and spoken-word scenes, is no longer presenting live entertainment. The venue’s last Thursday reggae night was on Feb. 26, and last Tuesday, March 3, was the Blue Nile’s last open mic night.
According to a public agreement between the venue’s ownership and the City of Minneapolis, the Blue Nile has reduced their level of entertainment from class B (including live music and a DJ) to a class E (music provided only by radio or jukebox). The venue has also changed its closing time to 10:00 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays, and 11:00 p.m. on weekends.
According to the agreement, repeated police calls due to criminal activity near the venue led to a city investigation that found the Blue Nile had overstepped its original license agreement by hosting DJs and clearing tables on the first floor rather than presenting music on that floor only as background for dining, as the venue had originally planned. As part of their agreement with the city, the Blue Nile’s owners are also making a new security plan and agreeing to meet regularly with neighborhood residents.
“Just wanted to let everyone know tonight is our last night at The Blue Nile,” the band Les Exodus posted on Facebook on Feb. 26. “Believe it or not Les Exodus has been there on a weekly basis for about 18 years…yes it has been that long. So regardless of what some may think about The Blue Nile, they have ALWAYS supported reggae and third world music, and we are thankful for that.” Reggae Thursdays are moving to the Cabooze on April 2, the band said in the Facebook post.
In addition to Reggae Thursdays, the Blue Nile has been known for its weekly open mic night, an important incubator for spoken-word artists. Among the talents who took the Blue Nile stage early in their careers were Dessa and longtime host Desdamona.