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Nick and Eddie ends four-year run as haven for Minneapolis music weirdos

by Andrea Swensson

March 29, 2012

On Saturday afternoon, a lengthy list of bands will congregate to perform in the alley behind Nick and Eddie for the bar, restaurant, and music venue’s final show. On Sunday morning, staff will serve brunch for the last time. And on Monday, that same staff will pack the restaurant’s namesake-bearing dishes into boxes and vacate the premises, effectively ending an era of uncertain, experimental, and ultimately unforgettable experiences in the small Loring Park bar.

As a resident of the neighborhood, I’ve been a regular at Nick and Eddie since before it started hosting music on a regular basis -- which I bring up not only to disclose my bias toward the space and its value to its surrounding community but to illustrate that I’ve watched it evolve through several different, equally challenging periods as a business since its opening in 2008.

When I first set foot in the space, it was an upscale restaurant; the drinks and food were excellent, and the price modest compared to the quality. Beautiful, jarring artwork adorned the walls and the wait staff were trained to pamper its clientele. The restaurant was clearly competing with the neighboring Cafe Lurcat, and during the dinner hour, it was succeeding -- but after dark, the bar would empty out into the night. The management sensed a greater possibility, and also a grave danger. In 2009, the place nearly shuttered. I remember sitting in a nearly empty bar comforting one of the bartenders as he scraped the bottom of the barrel for enough liquor to piece together a cocktail. With the shelves bare, he created a series of drinks based around the last bottle of absinthe. I was certain the bar would be closed soon after, but somehow it rallied, slowly refilled its liquor stock, and stayed alive.

Shortly after that grim period, manager Doug Anderson -- a true character if there ever was one, eternally nostalgic for his days spent deep in the influential New York punk scene but also always seeking out the best and weirdest talent in the Twin Cities -- started hosting bands in the back of the restaurant’s cavernous, awkwardly shaped room. A stage was constructed and constantly shifted to different areas of the room as Anderson figured out what would best complement the dismal acoustics, and by the February of 2010 he had recruited Ryan Olson to host a weekly residency at the restaurant and use the space to experiment with his improvisational noise collective, Marijuana Deathsquads.

In a way, I have been waiting for Nick and Eddie to close since the day I first set foot in it. But now that the moment has finally come, it feels too soon.

Nick and Eddie's last show, "Fin," will feature performances by The Desert Vest, Humanda, Dial-Up, Option Two, Demographics, The Idle Hands, The Cavalier Crooks, and Thug Mansion All-Starz on Saturday, March 31, starting at 2pm.

The bar has added one last show for Sunday night, April 1. Here are set times:

1:20 – 2 a.m. DJ Lady Heat 1:30 a.m.
1:10 - 1:15 Tomahawk Tassels (one song)
12: 35 – 1:00 The Seawhores
12:05 – 12: 25 Birthday Suits 
11:35 -11:55 Jacob Grun
11:00 - 11:25 *** Super Secret Special guest band *** 
10:25 – 10:55 Nato Coles and The Blue Diamond Band
10–10:20 Reverse Rapture (Kristina Lund solo)
9:20 – 9:45 Pink Mink (last band outside)
8:45 – 9:10 Baby Boys
8:10 – 8:35 The Magnolias
7:35 – 8:00 Machine 22
7:00 – 7:25 Zoo Animal
6:30 – 6:50 Jon Nielson of Fortified Five
5:45 – 6:15 Grant Cutler 
++DJ's Lady Heat (Christy Hunt and Danielle Morris), DJ CGull, DJ's Nato Coles and Sara Pette, DJ Tony Zaccardi and DJ Mark McGee.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.