Live music returns to Uptown: VFW to add 400-capacity concert space

Expect rocking concerts — a favorite of people young and old — at this new space in the Uptown VFW.

Expect rocking concerts — a favorite of people young and old — at this new space in the Uptown VFW.

Last month, we reported on some big changes happening at the Uptown VFW, including a the addition of a second/giant bar and — more importantly — a new kitchen with FOOD.

Last week, we got word from senior vice commander and assistant general manager Dominic Anspash that the James Ballentine VFW Post 246 is bringing live music back to the currently quiet Uptown area. Well, quiet aside from ex-frat bros drunkenly yelling from the balconies of their luxury apartment complexes.

You could visit and drink in the new space today, but shows won’t roll out until March. There’s no official opening date, as the stage has yet to be built.

“We really only did a soft opening for the whole place,” Anspash says. “We’ll be doing a grand opening party here eventually, hopefully sometime in mid-to-late-March.”

The new 4,000-square-foot VFW venue will hold around 400 people and offer live music from both local and touring acts, Anspash says. The VFW will handle its own booking duties. 

For context, that capacity puts the new room on par with Triple Rock Social Club (380), Kitty Cat Klub (400), and Amsterdam Bar & Hall (400), according this infographic from 89.3 the Current. 

For historical context, live music in Uptown pretty much died when the Uptown Bar closed in 2009. Then Sauce, later re-named Cause, sputtered along for a bit before it closed in 2014. Famous Dave's in Calhoun Square remains an option for concertgoers. 

If you want to get technical about Minneapolis neighborhoods, yes, the Uptown VFW is technically in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood, not Uptown proper. But "Lyn-Lake VFW" doesn't have the same ring to it. Save yourself the correction comment.

Will the Uptown VFW's new music venue beat the odds and attract enough $$$ to survive? Will it become a safe haven for the aforementioned bros or for crusty Minneapolis bands? Or both?! We'll see come March.