Photo by Leslie Plesser.

It's finally here. After several delays, the Depot Tavern is set to open Friday to the public. First Avenue has been hard at work on its next-door bar (located in the old UnBank) and was excited to show it off during Wednesday night's preview party. (The bar will have one more preview party Thursday for its Twitter followers.)

Initial thoughts: there's a lot to like. The general look of the spot is slicker than I thought it would be. You enter though two garage doors, which will stay open during the summer months. The dark wood bar is backed by a long row of tap beers. A dozen flat screen TVs hang throughout the joint. First Ave general manager Nate Kranz said they'll be adding more band photos from the club soon.

A cool touch: A few of the smaller screens display a live feed to the Main Room and 7th St. Entry stages. This way you won't be late for your favorite band. Even better: There's a door that leads right into the Entry.

The menu is comfort food taken up a notch. There's grilled portobello sliders, baked mac-and-cheese, an inside out burger. One item that's been getting a lot of hype is the Diamond Dog, and rightfully so. The quarter-pound all-beef hot dog (wrapped in pepper bacon and deep fried on a pretzel bun) is everything you think it would be: tasty and intense.

The bar's name is an ode to First Ave's history as a bus depot (the club was originally called the Depot, too).

Hours: 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. 17 N. 7th St., Mpls. www.first-avenue.com/thedepot.

Older Post

Neil Young returning to Northrop (July 29)

Newer Post

Kingsolver wins Orange Prize