BEST PLACE TO SALSA (1999)
The consolation prize goes to First Avenue, whose Thursday night Salsa Infernos represent the club's biggest step away from the alt rock that has been its bread and butter for most of this decade. And although the rich assortment of Latin dancing in both Minneapolis and St. Paul clubs offers a stark contrast to the pallor of our radio spectrum, this year's champion, The Quest, still stands above all competitors. We don't know if Prince had Afro-Cuban rhythms in mind when he designed The Nightclub Formerly Known as Glam Slam, but these days the Quest's lush interior offers the perfect backdrop for salsa, a highly structured yet highly erotic dance that offers showy elegance (especially in contrast to swing dancing's relaxed wholesomeness). Every Monday night starting at 8:00, glitzy regulars pay the ten-dollar cover and fill the floor to dance to the music of one of two rotating live bands. These dancers shuffle and spin in their sparkling dresses and expensive shirts. Meanwhile, the rest of us sit at our tables in between our own occasional, tentative dances, nursing our drinks and trying to accept the fact that human bodies can move this sublimely.