BEST ALL-AGES VENUE - 2007
Readers' Choice: First Avenue
For the under-18 set, seeing loud music in a club usually means waiting for all-ages shows at the Triple Rock, Station 4, the 7th St. Entry, or the Red Sea. Teen-friendly spots such as the Depot, the Toybox, the Fallout, Rudie's Coffeehouse, Club 3 Degrees, or the reopened Eclipse Records offer other options. Against that robust list, the Garage might seem like just another rec center—and in suburban Burnsville to boot. Yet this teen club is unusually inclusive: no age restrictions, no religious affiliations, no limits on genre. Where the Toybox rejected provocatively dressed transgender rockers Harsh Reality, the Garage welcomed the band. And lately, reggaetón and hip-hop events dot the usually rock-heavy calendar. Founded in 1999 with backing from the city of Burnsville, the Garage is open every day after school, and features evening concerts every Friday and Saturday in its black-lit, gym-sized music hall (doors usually open at 6:00 p.m., with closing time at 11:30 p.m.). Established bands play here all the time—and no wonder. Besides gaining new fans, musicians vibe off the youthful room—a crowd that has sent more than a few Twin Cities groups (Screaming Mechanical Brain, Four-Letter Lie, Quietdrive) on to bigger things. Call it a spanking machine for the stars of tomorrow.