The Fine Line Music Cafe, or The Fine Line as it's known to most on the Minneapolis scene, has a large replica of Fender Stratocaster perched high above the bar, immediately to the left of the entrance. Next to the over-sized guitar is a slogan: "The Fine Line Music Cafe...a slightly classier place to see live music" and it is well suited for the venue. Celebrating it's twentieth year of bringing live music to the Twin Cities, Fine Line is among the best venues in the city to play and hosts everything from local bands to popular touring national acts. One can largely tell the popularity of a band by what night of the week they play at The Fine Line, with Friday and Saturday being reserved for national/regional acts or local bands that have proven they can draw a large audience.
The space itself is pure high-ceiling, sonic enjoyment. Looking to provide an atmosphere of acoustic celebration, The Fine Line doesn't try to dazzle the eyes with excessive interior decoration. Instead, tables and chairs are spread across the middle of the first floor (yes, there is a balcony, and yes it is only open when their is a sell out or a high demand due to a popular regional/national act) leaving a little space in front of the stage for a few of the most spirited attendants to get their groove on.
Note: drinks are downtown prices for sure. Even with two for ones on Monday's for rail drinks and shots, most premium beers are easily 6 dollars, are 12 oz. and come in a flimsy plastic cup. There are drink deals throughout the night so call 612-338-8100 to find out the deals for the evening.
On Monday night Art Lipitan (here's a really scratchy video of Art singing, the only evidence of him that seems to exist on the internet) opened the night with a mediocre solo acoustic performance, reminiscent of early Creed without the hooks or the Christianity. The Steamboat Kings closed down the night with a set whose song arrangement failed to utilize all seven musicians on stage and came off sounding relatively weak. The highlight of the night would have to go to Field of Medicine. A four-piece consisting of drums, bass, violin and a lead singer on accordion of all instruments, Field of Medicine feel as though a gypsy quartet has just crashed your civil war era country fair...in a good way. The lyrics are rural Mark Twain, with the slightest influence of Hip Hop, and come off sounding brass, boozy and alluring. Check them out whenever you get the chance.
Take this bar in with the tonic cocktail of your choice (gin, vodka etc.) but primarily, go for the music. Wait until your favorite mid-size band comes to town or pick a band with an interesting name and just go. Most shows early in the week have no cover and with two-for-ones you can get by relatively cheap. Get there early to get good seating.