Viking Bar closes, another blow to live music on the West Bank


The Viking Bar Jay Boller

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

The Viking Bar, the historic West Bank establishment that helped foster the Minneapolis folk scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s and reopened just two years ago after a decade’s hiatus, has once again closed, due to a rift among its owners, the Current reports.

Located at 1829 Riverside Ave., the Viking started its initial run in 1959 and shut down in 2006. After the bar sat dormant for ten years, three new owners—Patrick Johnston and Amy and Aaron Britt—moved from Los Angeles and extensively remodeled the old joint, which reopened in May 2016.

“The Viking Bar spoke to us and we knew—based on its history and its potential—that we had finally found exactly what we were looking for,” Johnston told City Pages at the time.

With a new kitchen and sound system, a crack booking team, and enthusiastic new ownership, the Viking seemed poised to reclaim its spot in the Cedar-Riverside music scene, bringing in not just the kinds of rock and folk acts that had played at the old Viking, but hip-hop and electronic music as well.

Somewhere along the line, though, relations between the new owners apparently soured, and this estrangement led to the bar’s closure. Now, according to this posting, the building housing the Viking can be yours for $1 million and change.

These are not the best of times for live music in the West Bank area. The 400 Bar closed in 2012, and just last year we lost the Triple Rock and Whiskey Junction.

From 2006-2016, as the Viking Bar sat empty, the sign outside read “GONE FISHIN’.” Wonder if that wry message will now make its return.

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