Venue: The Varsity is a relatively new venue in Dinkytown near the U of M campus. It has a very lush interior with lots of couches, pillows, and soft carpeting.
Booking: The Varsity doesn’t book bands every night of the week, but they promote groups of all stripes from local to national acts. They tend to focus on music that is popular with the college crowd.
Concert Experience: The Varsity has excellent sound, great sightlines, and possibly the best lighting in the Midwest. The stage is large and at waist height, with several moveable platforms that can extend it. Concert goers generally stand, though it isn’t that unusual to see people lounging on the floor for quieter acts.
Drinks: The Varsity sports a wide range of drinks from cheap (PBR tall-boys) to spendier cocktails. Beer lovers will appreciate the selection of Surly brews, and five bucks a pop is a pretty fair price. The bar has a fifteen dollar credit card minimum, which is a huge pain in the ass. You are also only allowed to buy one drink at a time so don’t even try to buy a friend a drink unless they are standing right next to you.
Parking: You are on your own here I am afraid – Dinkytown parking is notoriously difficult.
The Staff: The Varsity staff is generally friendly and helpful. Occasionally the bartenders can get a little pissy, but overall they are pretty nice.
The Inside Scoop: The nearby parking lot (just north of Burrito Loco) doesn’t charge for parking after 10pm.