Sneak peek of The Fillmore: fancy, cool, good sound, well placed

Thank you to my friend Kristen for sneaky peek access to the Fillmore, Minneapolis’ latest swank music venue. Spoiler alert – I’m giving it a thumbs up.

Security seemed on high alert. At 6:30, there was already a line up outside. That being said, somehow we breezed to the front and got through the airport-like scanning with minimal hassle. The lobby opens up to the Fillmore and a restaurant. It’s a little confusing but we learned that they are separate places. So in the first few minutes I was underwhelmed but then we walked into the club. I was afraid we were walking into the new Brick. (The Brick was open for one bad night with Jane’s Addiction. It was actually a fun night but we all got our money back and the club reopened at Mill City Nights a week later after some poor management decisions, starting with aggressive security screening.)

While most comparisons I’ve heard have pitted the Fillmore with First Avenue, it’s more like the Palace in size and ethos. It’s two floors, large dance floor with little obscured views and a balcony with some seating. The balcony is pretty impressive; it’s larger than most with raked seating and standing areas so you could see the stage from nearly anywhere.

There are two bars downstairs just off the dancefloor. There’s a very nice bar upstairs set away from the club action but with space for a small stage. That was the highlight for me. It’s mostly a stand and sway place but there are plenty of cozy table and high tops around the perimeter.

The ambiance is club – lots of concrete, neon, photos of rock stars and art deco paintings of Prince, Lizzo and other local luminaries. Lots of red draping and fancy chandeliers. It’s cool. We saw Charlie Doesn’t Surf; the sound was good – not too loud, not too quiet.

Owned by Live Nation, the Fillmore is offspring to the Fillmore in San Francisco. I’m assuming most of the photos are from the original, I’m glad they supplemented with some nods to Twin Cities music scene.

The Fillmore officially opens next week. Looks like most of their shows are sold out. I’m thankful that I got to check it out. It’s little out of my price point and there weren’t any shows I was dying to see – but with sold out shows, I’m clearly in the minority. The club is in the shadow of the Target Center in the North Loop. I’d say it would be worth the walk to the west side of town just to experience the ambiance outside the bar after a game.

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