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Aster Cafe emerges as an elegant new 'listening room'

With a delicate layer of snow blanketing the Cities, it seems like a fine time to cozy up inside the Aster Cafe, one of Minneapolis's more promising new live music locales. Revamped under new ownership last June, the Aster started hosting live music in September, and the St. Anthony Main venue is shaping up to be an intimate and sophisticated spot.

The cafe held a media gathering over the weekend to introduce folks to their stage and setup, featuring short sets by local songwriter Adam Svec and touring avant-garde cellist Trevor Exter. With space for only about 80 people (100 standing), sound traveled to every corner of the small room, making it easy to engage in whatever was happening on stage.

Adam Svec
Adam Svec
Trevor Exter on the Aster's stage
Trevor Exter on the Aster's stage

The Aster is owned by Matty O'Reilly and Tom Peterson, who also co-own the similarly minded 318 Cafe in Exelsior, with additional help from Amy Spartz, booker Elli Rader, and local musicians Jeff Arundel and Kevin Steinman (who mans sound).

"We really wanted to create a listening room for musicians," Arundel explained, addressing the attentive crowd. "A place where people can just sit and listen."

The room does its job -- with a framed view of the downtown Minneapolis skyline serving as the only distraction, the space is ideal for absorbing music of the soft, folky, lyrically driven variety. And though I'm no food critic, there's something to be said about the pairing of elegant sights and sounds with tasty eats; the Aster complements its musical talent with scrumptious and surprisingly affordable small plates, cheese, salads, and sandwiches, in addition to an array of infused tea cocktails.

Long story short, we can't recommend this place enough for local music fans looking to sit down, shut up, and soak it all in. Fittingly, the Mad Ripple Hootenanny just announced it will be taking up a residency at the Aster this winter, kicking off on Thursday, December 2.

For more details on the Aster's upcoming shows, check out their calendar.

Aster Cafe booker Kevin Steinman
Aster Cafe booker Kevin Steinman
Photos by Erik Hess

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