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Located in the heart of Uptown, this isn't your grandpa's small town VFW. Sure, James Ballentine VFW Post 246 boasts all the familiar features of a traditional VFW - classic bar decor, cheap drinks, rooms for rent for wedding receptions and family reunions, bingo and popcorn machines - but what draws the crowds to this location is one of the most popular karaoke nights in town. Add regular record shows and a location within stumbling distance of several popular bars and one of the largest concentrations of apartments and condos in Minneapolis, and you have a VFW that may be host a smattering of older vets drinking by day, but is then packed sardine-style from sign-in book to popcorn machine by night.
The best karaoke tends to be found in dive bars with cheap booze and tipsy clientele. That is certainly the case at Lyn-Lake's VFW. Come early to nab a large vinyl booth, and pick up a Trapper Keeper of tunes. The song selection is vast and pretty varied, from country standards to '80s pop to party anthems (the only criticism we have is that we'd love to see more hip-hop tunes available). The crowd changes each evening but is generally a pleasant mix of barflies, hipsters, folks from out of... More »
This karaoke party has its regulars, including the angelic-voiced lady who sings Leslie Gore songs and the big guy who enthusiastically barks the lyrics to songs in homage to a band we're frankly not familiar with. But this is very much a karaoke for all skill levels. (One recent night featured a newbie horrified to discover that "Safety Dance" is a song that never ends.) The song list is huge (as is the waiting list to perform), and the stage is small and unassuming. But most performances... More »
The VFW at Lake and Lyndale is peerless among clubs and VFW's. The drinks and decor, like a VFW, are inexpensive. The patrons, a mix bar industry workers and trendy uptowners, are more like those found in a club. Somehow, walking through the door makes people to want to chat ike they're your old buddy, dance on the postage stamped sized dance floor or sing along with the karaoke singer- Perhaps they've downed more than their usual share of the inexpensive beer, or the warmth of Lt. Ballentine's smile sets the tone. If you can make it when the post is holding an event and get in on a dance when the huge main floor is open, it's even better.
A VOLUBLE AND borderline hyperactive interviewee, if one had to peg Joe Winterer's music based on his personality they could easily be forgiven for assuming he was a party-starting rave DJ or pogo-sticking pop-punk front man. They certainly... More »
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