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BEST BLUES BAR Minneapolis 2001 -

Where else can you catch both Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter in one exhilarating week of Texas sibling rivalry? Where else can you see exuberant local R&B stalwart Big Walter Smith celebrate his 70th birthday onstage? Where else can you pick up some toilet paper at the neighboring Target store before hitting the bar's video-golf game? Okay, not everything specific to the BrewBaker's experience is quaint or gritty or even bluesy in a West Bank sort of way. But while this suburban-feeling saloon and eatery hardly puts on roadhouse airs, it feels comfortably lived-in, satisfying a friendly bunch of regulars with the biggest names in local blues, and, what's more, reliably booking national legends such as Son Seals and Bo Diddley into a big, loud room. With six pool tables, plenty of American cuisine, a fat dance floor, and dart leagues, the joint feels like a bigger, less wholesome Famous Dave's, with a sound system spiffy enough that the Lamont Cranston Blues Band chose to record the St. Paul half of their forthcoming live CD on the premises.

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