If you have not been to the Varsity Theater (located at 1308 Southeast 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN aka Dinkytown) in the last year, you might be shocked by some of the changes the interior has undergone. If you've never gone to what is quite possibly Minneapolis' most cozy large-act venue...go. With a capacity of 500 and now with a wrap around bar on the first floor (which allows event-goers to see the stage from the merch table located just inside the entrance), a totally revamped upstairs with a lounge in the washroom and stage-viewable balcony, and stripped of it's once famous couches on either side of the main dance floor - to say The Varsity has undergone a face life might even be an understatement. However, it has kept intact it's ornate sense of style (the like of Kitty Cat Klub and Loring Pasta Bar, both located nearby and all under the same management) and unique chemistry that makes it more warm and inviting then either of downtown's First Avenue or Fine Line Music Cafe, not to mention cheaper in the drink department.
Unlike Fine Line's unholy price gauging on drinks, Varsity Theater keeps it somewhat reasonable, a refreshing change of pace for a venue that attracts mid to large size regional and national touring acts. And while it's interior has been altered, it is still full of chandeliers, random plants and the occasional plush chair not out of place in your grandparents apartment. A ticket to a show here can range from $5 for your favorite up and coming local act on a weeknight to the $28 a head (or more) that Citizen Cope (click here for a link to his website, one of the best, most in-depth artist website's I have ever seen) was charging his fans Saturday and Sunday night last weekend. Citizen Cope put on an amazing show, a review of which can be read here (written by yours truly) and a slide show which can be viewed here.
All in all it's a great venue to see a show, but come with your walking shoes as it's standing room only throughout the venue (except for special events such as plays, wedding receptions etc.). Also, make sure to get there early as it is first come first serve, but what else would you expect from a venue that generally has no seating? Also, most nights nearby parking is pretty cheap...added to the relatively affordable drinks and The Varsity makes a great destination any night of the week. Call (612) 604-0222 for more information.