Walker Open Field: the museum's backyard bbq starts in June

Walker Open Field: the museum's backyard bbq starts in June

Walker Open Field June 3 - September 5

For years, I've been complaining that Minneapolis doesn't have something like Madison's Memorial Union Terrace: a city-wide "hang-out," a summertime gathering place with food, drink, entertainment, nature, etc. that draws anyone and everyone to one central location. A few places--the Mill City Farmers' Market, Sea Salt--have part of the equation going, but I think the Walker Art Center's upcoming "Open Lounge" has the potential to become just such a go-to summer spot.

In lieu of putting on its weekly music & movies events in Loring Park, the Walker has decided to turn its Vineland Place entry area into a combination public patio, performance plaza, classroom, and outdoor bar and grill, starting June 3. The adjacent grassy area will be available for lounging, picnics, etc. and a shed will offer umbrellas, blankets, books, sports equipment, art materials, portable radios, and more. A few events have been scheduled (including a free Tapes 'N Tapes and Total Babe concert on July 11).

It sounds like a lot of the ingredients for a perfect summer afternoon in the city: all you have to do is add water--or fresh-squeezed lemonade, local beers, and specialty martinis available at the Bar & Grill (as per city ordinances, you can't byo alcohol, but you may purchase it). Last year, I enjoyed a Wild Acres turkey drumstick from Wolfgang Puck's tiny bbq tent on Vineland, so I'm hoping for more of the same on the Bar & Grill's expanded menu. The only strange thing: Bar & Grill hours are Tues.-Sun. 11-5, except for Thurs. nights when it's open until 9, leaving most 9-to-5'ers limited to one night of enjoyment.

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