A Moving Target

What's new in clubland? An intimate downtown dance floor; a new home for Jitters; and a gay "theme bar" in Nordeast


Boom, January 19, 2000

STILL FURTHER NORTHEAST along East Hennepin, that selfsame Wednesday, I visit Boom (401 E. Hennepin Ave.), an even newer club opened just a few doors down from where the Terminal Bar was renovated from a neighborhood dive to a neighborhood dive with decent live bands. Boom feels like a neighborhood bar, too--in this case, one that caters to a gay clientele.

Music sounds better with youth: A patron lounges at Minneapolis's new all-age club Liquid
Siddiqi Ray
Music sounds better with youth: A patron lounges at Minneapolis's new all-age club Liquid

When I arrive, gorgeous, glamorous Shania struts across the seven video screens distributed evenly along the walls. Each evening runs with a particular theme--Sunday, for instance, is show-tunes night. Wednesday is comedy night, and newish George Michael videos flicker throughout the room, intercut with quietly audible classic SNL bits and Tracey Ullman skits. But the crowd doesn't appear to have been zombified by the proliferation of visuals. The several dozen patrons who've braved the weather seem to have a lot to say to one another, in fact. Ranging from postcollegiate to middle-aged, everyone here knows everyone, just like in those bars in lite-beer commercials and Aaron Spelling soaps.

Boom is an elegant box of a venue, with brick walls, tall windows, and a high ceiling of intricately patterned silvery-gray (apparently some kind of preapproved zoning color). At the center of the room is an ellipse of a bar with a smaller, oval board hanging above it. And check this--the metal barstools are ass-contoured.

"You taking notes?" the fellow next to me asks. I am. "Are they good ones?" They are.

Dislodged for the evening from my Uptowncentric world, I have stumbled into something approximating a neighborhood. When's the last time a bouncer said "goodnight" to you on your way out instead of shouting for you to down 'em and depart? Who knows: If someone gathers up enough pluck and capital to open a decent record store thereabouts, I might even relocate.

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