Previously advertised to open next week, the 400 Bar at the Mall of America is still a long ways off.
Next week’s concert with former Wings/Moody Blues member Denny Laine is now listed to take place at something called the 400 Gallery, which is a room inside the neighboring Midwest Music Museum. Same thing with the bar’s would-be first show by Nashville band Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden, also originally announced for the bar but now taking place in the gallery on Monday night.
Joe O’Brien, who partnered with co-owners Tom and Bill Sullivan at the old 400 Bar before its closing in December, downplayed the distinction between the two rooms on the MOA’s nightlife-oriented fourth floor.
“It's all one complex under the 400 Bar umbrella -- museum, venue, restaurant,” he said. “This is a listening room, offering fans a unique opportunity to experience great music close up and uninterrupted.”
Clearly, though, fans thinking they're going to see "the new 400 Bar" next week will be disappointed. The white-walled gallery space only boasts a 100-person capacity. Alcohol will not be served there, but O’Brien said fans can get a drink “steps away at the other great bars on the fourth floor.” Those include Hooters and Corona Cantina #1.
A peek through the windows at 400 Inc.’s bar and restaurant space Tuesday confirmed a lot of work still needs to be done there. In fact, it looked as if little to no work had been done in the long-vacated former sports bar space. Tables and chairs sit in dusty piles, and the old football mural is still up behind the bar. O’Brien would not provide more details on renovation plans or a projected opening date for the bar.
Thankfully, the 400 team's Midwest Music Museum opened as projected last month with the Grammy Museum-curated show "Ladies and Gentleman... The Beatles!" The $7 exhibit will be on display through Sept. 7 and was updated locally to include many photos from the Fab Four's 1964 concert at Metropolitan Stadium, where the MOA now stands. Admission to the exhibit is included with the price of next week's concert tickets (and how could it not be included?).
In related news, the 400 Bar's Bill Sullivan is dusting off some of his own old photos and stories of a different kind of legandery rock 'n' roll band and hoping to make a book out of it. The former tour manager for the Replacements just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund "Lemon Jail: 'Mats Tour Diary 1983-1986." That, too, might make a great museum exhibit, though maybe not a family-friendly one like the Beatles show.