The steady bass thump can be heard a block away. There’s a small line out the door, and regulars smile and bro-hug the bouncer when they get to the front. Inside, a group of young women in various states of non-sobriety dance around the front of the DJ booth as an electro-house remix of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” pumps through the speakers. The bar is packed, but the hair-product convention in VIP can see and be seen a little more comfortably.
It’s a typical Friday scene for a downtown Minneapolis club around midnight. Except it’s Sunday afternoon at an Uptown restaurant that serves fried chicken.
“It’s a little overwhelming, but I dig it,” said Casey McPartlan, 31, who snagged a table on BoneYard Kitchen and Bar’s crowded patio overlooking the day-rage theatrics.
After a snooze-worthy Saturday night at a quieter suburban bar, the Apple Valley man came to BoneYard’s weekly “Sunday funday” bash to get his weekend party fix. “This makes up for it,” he said over an EDM barrage.
Since opening in March, the Southern-themed bar and restaurant from Kaskaid Hospitality — the parent company behind Union, Rev Ultra Lounge, the Crave restaurants and more — has drawn raucous Sunday masses with an atmosphere akin to a Vegas pool party (minus the pool). The unofficial dress code ranges from walk-of-shame casual to crisp collars and designer denim, and the 400-capacity patio is littered with the “sun’s out, guns out” faithful.
“Everybody’s been talking about this place,” said Celia Thomas, 23. “This is where the day party’s at, so we had to come check it out. People are popping bottles — that’s kind of weird.”
Yep, there’s bottle service.
Sabbath day parties aren’t entirely new to the Twin Cities, but BoneYard’s series — hatched by local DJ Jay Tappe, aka Strangelove — has been a hit in Uptown’s luxury apartment era. The parties, which run from roughly 2 to 9 p.m., have made Sundays the bar’s busiest day of the week, doubling Saturday sales figures, said general manager Jamie Trainis.
This weekend BoneYard is throwing its two-day Hoedown block party and hog roast from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, erecting a large stage in its parking lot. Twin Cities disco/indie-dance stud Gigamesh headlines Saturday’s eclectic lineup featuring electro-rockers BNLX, Toki Wright & Big Cats, indie-pop duo Strange Names and more. Sunday’s all-electronic bill is an extension of the fist-pumping festivities in the former Old Chicago space, headlined by Kentucky DJ Amtrac. Organizers hope to make it an annual event.
The weekly party was spawned when Tappe realized he had a built-in audience with an informal army of his friends that gathered each Sunday at nearby Bar Louie. Tappe, who plays regularly at Kaskaid venues, has thrown other Sunday parties in the past as a co-founder of the techno-driven Communion series formerly held on the rooftops at Solera and the downtown Minneapolis Crave. “I knew there was a core for it,” he said of the BoneYard parties. “It’s just that around Minnesota there are no [bars with] pools, so there’s no real feature to bring people. So we decided it’s ‘drink as much as you can and get rowdy.’ ”
After a falling-out with Crave management, the summertime Communion parties live on at 400 Soundbar in downtown Minneapolis. Helmed by local techno vet Centrific, Communion’s focus on underground dance music caters to a completely different crowd than the more mainstream, bottle service-y BoneYard events, which organizers boast frequently attract pro athletes (we spotted Vikings offensive lineman Matt Kalil at BoneYard last week).
While BoneYard’s Fireball-guzzling fêtes have become increasingly popular — especially with summer’s arrival — not everyone’s gotten the memo. Occasionally families or unknowing brunchers wander in hoping to eat their eggs in peace. “My first Sunday, my wife and my three kids were on their way to the restaurant at 2:30 [p.m.] and I had to call and be like ‘No, no, no — not today,’ ” said Trainis, laughing. “It’s just not an environment that’s conducive for families that are looking for a traditional brunch/lunch atmosphere.”
You’re fine bringing Grandma in for post-church pancakes in the a.m. But around noon the staff starts warning guests of the forthcoming rager, which Crave marketing director Zach Sussman said has a strong following among service-industry employees. Las Vegas hotels and clubs on the coasts have been giving brunch and sunny afternoons the turnt-up treatment for a while. So maybe Minnesota bargoers are ready for a little daytime debauchery.
“I think it’s taken some time for the Midwest to catch up to the idea that Sunday is not the day to be bummed out before you go back to work,” Sussman said. “Sunday is half the weekend, and it’s to be celebrated and enjoyed.”
Apparently, one shot of cinnamon-flavored whiskey at a time.
Michael Rietmulder writes about bars, beer and nightlife.