Less than two years after opening its doors on Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, the 501 Club will close on January 8.
[jump] Jarret Oulman, co-owner of the 501 club and manager of the 331 Club in northeast Minneapolis, says that they started having doubts about the business this summer--around the time they constructed a wall separating the music venue side from the bar side of the club and started charging admission on the weekends--but that they made the final call to close the 501 Club this month.
"It was really a case of not being able to make the model work downtown," Oulman says. The club opened in April of last year with the goal of creating a comfortable vibe for music fans to catch live music and grab a beer, much like the 331. "Trying to bring something downtown in a big downtown space with live music and happy hour and nightlife with our clientele--the capacity was higher, but the expenses were higher as well," Oulman says. "We needed a lot of activity in there. It wasn't enough to make ends meet."
In addition to the rising costs of running a business downtown ("It was more costly than I thought it would be--some of the costs went up after we got involved"), he also says that the recent troubles at the Metrodome have depleted business. "Apparently football fans can consume more than skinny tight-pants indie-rock hipsters, imagine that!" he laughs.
Oulman says the club is busy trying to relocate some of its most popular nights, including the monthly LOL/OMG social media meet-up and weekly trivia nights. He is hoping many of those nights will be moved to the 331 for the time being.
He also insists that this closure will not affect business at the 331 Club, which has been around for almost six years. "The 331 is going to do what it's always done," he says. "The 331 is doing fine... I think pulling back and focusing on the 331 is a great idea."
Oulman also hints that they might consider trying another venture in a different location later on. "We are open to entertaining other opportunities...there might be something out there," he says. "After doing 331 and 501, I suppose I have a different perspective, seeing how it works one way and doesn't work another way. It'll be interesting to see what kind of opportunities come our way."
The 501 Club plans to stay open and busy through January 8; upcoming shows include tonight's show with Humanda, a New Year's Eve party with Kristoff Krane and Sims, and a farewell party on January 8 with Curtiss A and the Jerks of Fate.
For more events at the 501, check their website.