After a quarter-century in business that saw numerous appearances from both Prince and police, St. Paul's Arnellia’s Bar and Restaurant will close at the end of the month.
A Facebook post from Sunday announcing the closure cited "major health issues" afflicting Arnellia Allen, owner of the University Avenue nightclub. Arnellia’s will throw a four-day closing celebration April 27-30.
"For many years [Allen] has hosted the only black-owned live music venue in Minnesota," reads the announcement written by Bill Tilton, Allen's lawyer. "Arnellia’s has had some of the greatest entertainers of all time perform at her venue, from international to Twin Cities finest. The Purple Majesty himself, Prince, made several appearances."
Allen's dream was for "a nightclub with a supper club atmosphere that specialized in Soul Food cuisine and great music," Tilton writes. He lovingly describes Allen as "The Black Joan Collins of a modern day Dynasty."
Arnellia’s endured several encounters with law enforcement throughout the years. According to the Pioneer Press: A man was shot and killed outside the venue in 1992; a man died after his skull was crushed by a vehicle during a fight in 1999; a shooting inside Arnellia’s left one bystander dead in 2004; a person was killed by gunfire during a fight outside the club in 2015.
Predictably, a "face-smacking contest" billed as Smack Fest turned violent last November, causing Arnellia’s to lose its liquor license for 10 days in March.
Arnellia’s is seeking bands, spoken word poets, and DJs to help the club go out on notes of "peace, love, and music." Those interested should contact De’Monica Flye (651-206-7147) or Kendra Glenn (612-998-2246) for more info.
Arnellia’s will offically shutter at midnight on May 1.