Our fair metropolis is home to an eclectic mix of sub-cultures, interests and activities. Unfortunately, many interests do not gain the exposure they deserve, and those looking for specific events do so with difficulty. Finding venues that regularly host live Latin music in the Twin Cities is one such challenging quest. Luckily, active participants in our city’s more niche markets can serve as local gurus, guiding interested parties in the right direction. Jim Carlson Otero, prominent Latin music promoter and President of Premier Latino Events, LLC, is said guru on Latin music in the Twin Cities–it’s his job, after all. Here’s an insider’s look into some of the best places in the Twin Cities to see live Latin music.

Photo Credit: FACES via Facebook

380 Jackson St.
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 209-7776

Price: $10
Hours: Mon to Fri – 10 a.m to 2 a.m, Sat – 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sun – 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Click here for a calendar of events

This popular bar/restaurant in St. Paul tops Jim’s list of places to go for Latin tunes. Serving up Mediterranean-inspired American fare by day, FACES hosts Latin Night every Friday evening. Beginning at 9 pm, an 18 and older crowd can enjoy live Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue music.. K-Libre 24, an 11-piece orchestra that plays a variety of music from the Spanish-speaking regions of the Caribbean, also makes regular appearances on Miami Night, where “new music meets the old.” Rock out to live music from K-Libre 24 and dance the night away with DJs spinning the hottest Latin Pop, Reggaeton, top 40 music, and more. Miami nights typically occur on Saturday evenings, but be sure to check out Premier Latino Events for details on upcoming performances before heading out.

(credit: Famous Dave's)

Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues
3001 Hennepin Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
(612) 822-9900

Price: $5
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to late, Sat – 8 a.m. to late, Sun – 10 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Click here for a calendar of events.

This venue may come as a surprise to some, but Famous Dave’s Calhoun Square location has been hosting a Salsa Night every Tuesday for over seven years running. Famous Dave’s Salsa Night begins at 9 p.m. and features local band Sensacion Latina. This seven-piece band plays almost any kind of Latin music you can think of, including salsa, cumbia, merengue, bachata, cha-cha and more. Five bucks grants you access to the show where you can shimmy and shake the night away to fantastic Latin beats.

Related: Best Bars with Jukeboxes

(credit: CBS)

First Avenue
701 First Ave. North
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-1775

Price: $3 before 11 p.m, $6 after 11 p.m. Ladies get in free before midnight.
Hours: Hours vary, Click here for a calendar of events

While Famous Dave’s prides itself on having the best in Latin entertainment on Tuesday nights, First Avenue is where it’s at Thursday evenings. Groove out to the high-energy Latin beats of Ritmo Caliente!, as First Avenue’s Mainroom is filled with the sounds of Latin music. Grab a cocktail and enjoy a variety of Latin musical stylings including Reggaeton, Rumba, Salsa, Cumbia, Latin hip hop, Merengue, and Sonidera as spun by DJ Fresko and DJ Victor 1200. Admission is $3 before 11 p.m. and increases to $6 any time after. Ladies get in free before midnight, so come early to avoid the cover.

Related: Best Music Lessons in the Twin Cities

El Nuevo Rodeo is the hottest Latin hangout in the Twin Cities. (Credit: elnuevorodeo.com)

El Nuevo Rodeo Restaurante
2709 East Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55406
(612) 728-0101

Price: Admission prices vary
Hours: Mon to Thurs – 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Fri to Sun – 11:30 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Click here for a calendar of events

If you are looking for a more authentic Latin experience, then you will definitely need to check out El Nuevo Rodeo. Unlike the other venue highlighted here, El Nuevo Rodeo features music that Jim describes as “Nortena” and “Banda,” which are characteristic of the traditional style of music found in northern Mexico. Many Americans tend to be unfamiliar with this genre, as most are more accustom to salsa and merengue. Jim uses an analogy to make differentiating the two genres easier to comprehend: Nortena/Banda is like country music in that it possess a rural sound, and salsa/meringue is like pop/rock in that it is characterized by catchy, lively beats. So if you’re looking for Latin music with an agrarian edge, head on over to El Nuevo Rodeo any night of the week. El Nuevo Rodeo frequently hosts national acts, so check out the website for information on upcoming performances and admission costs before visiting.

A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. She went to graduate school, survived, and has a Masters Degree in Sociology from Purdue University. Christina loves to read, write, and explore the city. She enjoys writing about unique events, of which (thankfully!) there is no shortage of in Minnesota. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.