Nightlife deals

Times must be really tough because even the competitive bars and clubs in the downtown nightlife scene are banding together in hopes of making a common buck. Recently, a large group of bars got together to brainstorm ideas that would increase customer traffic and give the area a definitive identity. Their rebranding efforts came up with the name the Warehouse Entertainment District (and the tagline "It's all here"). Not exactly Times Square, but it works. Now the group is offering its first promotion, a discount card that gets you deals at more than 25 bars, clubs and restaurants. It's called the Big Deal Card, and it's free. Just register at the Warehouse District Business Association's website (and it'll be sent to you) or pick one up at the participating establishments. Here are some current deals: Free cover at Envy nightclub, free drinks from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the Lone Tree/Annex and $1 off admission to First Ave's Too Much Love dance night. (Info: www.mplswarehouse.com.)

Party with a 'Girl Next Door'

The Playmate who used to be Hugh Hefner's No. 1 squeeze (as opposed to his No. 2 and 3) will be at Aqua Saturday night. Holly Madison, one of the stars of E!'s "The Girls Next Door," hosts a party in her honor. While she's broken up with her Playboy boss, don't think she's available. She's now dating supermagician Criss Angel. (10 p.m. Sat., 400 1st Av. N., Mpls. 612-232-3232. www.aquampls.com.)

Winterfest is coming

If there's still any question that the Twin Cities is a beer-geek haven, one only needs to look at the ultrapopular Autumn Brew Review and its sister event, Winterfest. The latter, which takes place Feb. 6, is always a sold-out, beer-tasting extravaganza. Tickets go on sale Monday at noon. There are only 700 and they go fast. The Minnesota Craft Brewer's Guild has moved this year's Winterfest to the Minnesota History Center. For tickets go to Uptowntix.com or call 651-209-6799. (7-10 p.m. Feb. 6, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. $45.)

TOM HORGEN