Local Current Blog

The 400 Bar plans to reopen at the Mall of America

The 400 Bar in its original location on Cedar and Riverside in Minneapolis (Photo by Nate Ryan/MPR)

Minneapolis rock club the 400 Bar—which shuttered in early 2013 after decades of hosting live music on the West Bank—announced today that it will be reborn as a new music venue on the fourth floor of the Mall of America.

In addition to providing a 1,000-capacity space for concerts (which puts it in the same ballpark as the Varsity Theater and Cabooze), the new space will include a restaurant and the new Midwest Music Museum.

According to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, the music hall hopes to “attract a variety of acts, including rock, blues and country,” and will be able to accommodate both seated and standing-only shows.

“Many great musicians played the 400 and we are excited to have that same high caliber of music coming to Mall of America,” Mall of America executive vice president of business development Maureen Bausch said in a statement.

After the 400 Bar closed last year dozens of musicians helped to recount the venue’s history, which dates all the way back to when the building opened in 1882. It was the bar where Golden Smog, Zuzu’s Petals, and Semisonic all began, where First Ave stage manager Conrad Sverkerson kicked out his first rowdy patron, and where Peter Ostroushko was playing pool when he got the call to go play on Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks.

“It was kind of a magnet—not only for musicians, but for a lot of the artists and dancers in the neighborhood,” remembered Paul Metsa, who played his first gig at the bar in 1980, while Dan Wilson of Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic had many memorable nights at the club in the late ’80s and early 1990s. “I remember the first time we did ‘Closing Time’ was at the 400 and I forgot all the words and we had to start over,” Wilson said. “But it was very appropriate because I had first heard that phrase ‘You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here’ bellowed by a bouncer at the 400.” (That bouncer turned out to be manager Billy Sverkerson, who passed away last year.)

In the 400 Bar’s later years it was purchased and operated by brothers Bill and Tom Sullivan, who pulled in major touring acts like Elliot Smith, the Shins, and Arcade Fire. The Sullivans will still be tied to the new 400 Bar at the Mall of America, along with business partner Joe O’Brien.

Already, a humorous #400BarattheMall hashtag has popped up on Twitter, combining popular indie acts that might have played the 400 Bar on the West Bank with stores at the mall. Sample: “Sharon Jones and the Gap Kings.”

In other news, the Hard Rock Cafe has also announced they are reopening at the MOA.