Did you hear? Art-A-Whirl has a new name. It's now called Party-A-Whirl.

OK, maybe that's all in my head. But something is definitely different about the 17th annual art extravaganza. Starting Friday, the studios and galleries of northeast Minneapolis will open their doors to the city's largest art crawl. Thousands of people are expected.

And this year, the bars of cozy Northeast are ready for them. The Art-A-Whirl landscape will be dotted by a half-dozen big, loud, ambitious outdoor concerts -- basically six block parties in one weekend.

Last year, the Anchor Fish & Chips didn't host a party, but it sold 1,400 fish-and-chips plates in three days. It seats only 38 people.

"It was insane," said co-owner Kathryn Hayes. "This thing is just getting bigger and bigger each year."

This time, Anchor will welcome Art-A-Whirlers with a big stage, a food truck, a beer trailer and two days of bands. And it's not alone. While you're at the festival, just don't forget to look at some paintings.


  • Party: The Irish chipper celebrates the debut of its food truck with a parking lot throw-down.
  • When: Noon-8 p.m. Sat. and Sun. No cover.
  • Bands: A full lineup on both days, headlined by Romantica and Valet.
  • Eat: The van, as they call it in Ireland, serves Anchor's fish and chips, pasties and battered sausage.
  • Drink: A Guinness-sponsored beer trailer will have Summit and Harp on tap.


  • Party: The tiki palace will toast Art-A-Whirl on its humongous deck with "Rock the Riverfront."
  • When: Noon-10 p.m. Sat. $5 cover.
  • Bands: Another all-day lineup, with the 4onthefloor and its kick-drum brigade headlining.
  • Eat: I always say the deeper-fried the better.
  • Drink: Mind-bendingly stiff tiki drinks and "giant trucks filled with beer."


  • Party: You know what Art-A-Whirl needs? A one-day beer fest. Boom!
  • When: Firkin Fest is 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sat. Music starts 6 p.m. Fri., 1:15 p.m. Sat.
  • Bands: Notables during the two days include Blue Sky Blackout, Idle Hands, Fort Wilson Riot and Nightinghales. (No cover.)
  • Eat: The sausage-loving chef will have four new ones on the grill -- gyro, buffalo chicken, green chili pork and a Polish Dago.
  • Drink: A meager $10 gets you all the cask-ale samples you can drink. Eight firkins from the likes of Surly, Fulton, Lift Bridge and more.


  • Party: Pat Dwyer's bar has been an Art-A-Whirl hotbed for 14 years. In addition to the rock 'n' roll, he's hanging art by staff and customers.
  • When: Starts 1 p.m. Sat. $5 for music.
  • Bands: The back-yard party features Pink Mink, Is/Is, Gay Witch Abortion and more. Christy Hunt will host a "dance-off" later in the evening on "our not so state-of-the-art outdoor dance floor," bartender Tony Zaccardi said.
  • Eat: "Demon dogs" (footlongs stuffed with peppers and cheese) by Creature Comfort Catering.
  • Drink: Surly tallboys at the outdoor bar, plus a 2 Gingers whiskey cart.

331 CLUB

  • Party: Grumpy's is the originator, but 331 kicked this whole Art-A-Whirl music fest thing into high gear a few years ago.
  • When: Starts 6 p.m. Fri., 12:30 p.m. Sat., 1:15 p.m. Sun. No cover.
  • Bands: The bar's biggest lineup yet. Headliners: All Tomorrow's Petty (Fri.), No Bird Sing (Sat.) and Alpha Consumer (Sun.).
  • Eat: The owners' St. Paul bar, Amsterdam, is bringing the food -- Belgian frites, beer-braised smoked pork, sausages and veggie spring rolls.
  • Drink: A beer trailer will be on site with Grain Belt and Schell's beers.


  • Party: Maybe there's a trend here. Like the Anchor, this pub will have its food truck -- Stanley's on Wheels -- in the outdoor mix.
  • When: 6-10 p.m. Fri. and Sat.
  • Bands: Just two rockers here. the Teddy Holidays on Friday and July Fighter on Saturday.
  • Eat: The truck will be parked alongside the beer garden, serving barbecue beef brisket, soft pretzels and more.
  • Drink: Schell's and Grain Belt are busy this weekend. They'll have a beer trailer here, too.

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