Tears ran improv routes down the faces of Twin Cities jazz fans when longtime venue Artists' Quarter shuttered in late 2013. A spiritual successor officially emerged last July, however, when the Dakota Jazz Club restored jazz to AQ's former basement space in downtown St. Paul with Vieux Carré (pronounced "view kar-ay"). The NOLA-flavored, speakeasy-styled music den has brought stellar cocktails, creole cooking, and, of course, a top-notch rotation of jazz artists to the historic Hamm Building. While its sister space the Dakota bills bigger names across the river, Vieux Carré keeps things sophisticated and cool with its emphasis on local talent and French Quarter vibes. Its welcome presence ensures the Saintly City Cat Show isn't St. Paul's only gathering space for cool cats.