Crave opens, rooftop coming

"It's a little bit edgier than before," Kam Talebi said. That's how the owner of Crave summed up his hotly anticipated venture into downtown Minneapolis last week. After a whirlwind construction period, this Crave -- his fourth in the Twin Cities -- was scheduled to open Thursday at 825 Hennepin Av. S.

Everything is bigger: the bar, the sushi operation and the room in general (it's 12,000 square feet). Talebi has blown out the old Palomino space, opening up the soaring ceilings. He's added stylistic touches that he might not have in Edina or Bloomington (the booths are covered in what looked like crocodile leather).

"We understand that we're coming in from suburban America, so we've really custom-tailored the concept for downtown," he said.

The big buzz surrounding this location is the ambitious rooftop, which will open May 29. At 6,500 square feet, it'll be a smidge larger than Seven's. Talebi doesn't want customers to think of the rooftop as simply a late-night destination, but a dinner spot, too. He's building a full kitchen up there, as well as a bar and restrooms. "The way I look at it is, we've built two restaurants," he said.

In all, Talebi said the investment totals about $5 million. "It's been a challenging build-out, but we've been working around the clock," he said. The rooftop's soft opening will be the debut of Communion, a popular DJ night that is moving over from Solera.

A pirate pub crawl?

This sounds nerdier than dressing up like Superman for a comic book convention (and there's a big one of those this weekend, too!). But if you're into pirates, have I got a pub crawl for you. To coincide with the opening of the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean," a Pirate Bar Crawl is taking over Uptown on Saturday. Put together by a Cap'n Jack lookalike (aka real estate agent Erik Brown), the crawl starts at Stella's, where participating scalawags will get a treasure map of the various pub stops. Along the way there will be a costume contest, so come prepared.

The Care Bear of comedy

Comedian Erik Allen will celebrate the release of his CD "This Is All I Have Right Now" at the Joke Joint this weekend. Allen won Acme's "Funniest Person in the Twin Cities" in 2007. He's famous for sensitive-guy jokes that carry a hint of deviousness: "Being a guy raised by women is kinda like being a grizzly bear raised by Care Bears. Then you just turn out to be a confused grizzly Care Bear who looks intimidating." Check him out.