Former indie-rock haven 400 Bar finding new life at Mall of America

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Fans of the 400 Bar will soon see the defunct Minneapolis club revived, but in a starkly different setting.

For decades the 400 drew its denizens into a dark and grungy tavern near the University of Minnesota campus to hear rising stars of the indie-rock world. Now the Mall of America is inviting fans to Bloomington to get their music fix at the nation's showplace of retail commerce.

The Business Journal reports the megamall has announced plans to open a new version of the 400 featuring a bar, restaurant, performance venue, and music museum. The venue is scheduled to open in June with the restaurant and pub following in September.

As WCCO reports, the mall says the concert venue will hold as many as 1,000 people and the space will be flexible, with visitors seated for some shows and standing for others.

The Star Tribune notes that the 400 Bar has a legacy of hosting such indie-rock mainstays as the Jayhawks, the White Stripes, and Arcade Fire. Will fans of the 400 follow it to the mall?

Well, the first-blush reaction on Twitter included much mockery of this marriage of retail and rock. Reaction to the 400's news soon morphed into suggestions of imaginary bands that might appear there.

Soon after the 400 closed the Current took an affectionate look back through its long history. Underground tunnels purportedly connected it to other Cedar-Riverside speakeasies during Prohibition. Peter Ostrushko was said to be shooting pool in the bar when he was called to play on Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" album. Bonnie Raitt was known to spend mornings reading the New York Times there.

A colorful past. As for the future, a mall executive says in a news release "Many great musicians played the 400 and we are excited to have that same high caliber of music coming to Mall of America."

The Pioneer Press reports another beloved music club that recently shut down, the Artist's Quarter, is angling for a revival. The newspaper says a former bartender at the St. Paul jazz club and a business partner are tracking down leads for a new location for the club.

Meanwhile, another Twin Cities music venue may be headed toward extinction rather than returning from it. KSTP reports a statement from Epic Event Center in Minneapolis' warehouse district says management is looking at discontinuing "certain nightclub activities" and may lease the property. The club was the site of a fatal shooting in November.

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