Whether or not nightlife venues that serve alcohol should be allowed to host 18+ nights has been met with controversy in recent years. The obvious concern is making sure that establishments that wish to allow those under legal drinking age to attend on designated nights take precautions to ensure minors are not served alcoholic beverages. On the flip side, many new to adulthood, but not yet able to drink legally, seek out an exciting nightlife where they can dance, listen to music and have the opportunity to meet new people. Luckily for those who live in the Twin Cities, there are a host of options for the under 21 crowd seeking an active nightlife. Check out the following locales for ideas on some of the best places for the under-aged to enjoy nightlife in Minneapolis.

(credit: CBS)

First Avenue
701 1st Ave. N
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 332-1775

If live music is what you crave, then First Avenue should top your list of places to go, especially for those not quite of legal drinking age. First Avenue offers a plethora of live entertainment, from local acts to national headliners, nearly every night of the week. Check out First Avenue’s calendar for detailed information on upcoming shows, ticket prices and what ages are allowed to attend (there are occasionally all ages shows as well). This unique, two-story venue reserves the upper level for those 21+ who want to enjoy a drink, with bouncers checking IDs prior to granting access upstairs. First Avenue is an open, spacious club that features a large dance floor ideal for dancing, rocking out to live tunes and mingling with an eclectic mix of individuals.

Photo Credit: Gay 90s via Facebook

The Gay 90’s
408 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 333-7755

The Gay 90’s is a Minneapolis institution of sorts, well-known by locals as a gay/straight friendly establishment. The 90’s regularly hosts 18+ nights every Thursday, Sunday and every 3rd weekend of the month. For a $10 cover charge, minors are granted access to the club, a large giant “X” scrawled on the back of the hand alerting servers and bartenders to the fact that they are minors (those 21+ receive brightly colored wrist bands). With six different bar areas to choose from, the 90’s offers a unique selection of areas in which to mix, mingle and dance the night away. For many who visit the 90’s, one of the main attractions is the Drag Show, which occurs regularly, including 18+ nights. If you are looking to party at a venue welcoming to “all colors of the rainbow,” then the 90’s might just be your cup of tea.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

711 Hennnepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 333-6100

Barfly is a popular dance club destination for many 18 to 20-year-olds seeking out the type of nightclub atmosphere those of legal drinking age are privileged to enjoy. Minors are allowed to attend weekly from Tuesday through Saturday. Barfly’s “nightclub in the sky,” dubbed The Loft, is known to attract popular dub-step, techno artists and DJs who spin the hottest hits. Its an ideal rave-esque party destination for both those of legal drinking age and those who are not. It is recommended to call ahead to find out about specific 18+ events. And while expected dress is best categorized as casual chic, leave the baggy athletic wear at home or you won’t be granted access, regardless of age.

Photo Credit: Aqua Nightclub via Facebook

400 First Ave. N
Minneapolis, MN 55414
(612) 232-3232

As its name alludes, Aqua is nightclub with an “aquarium chic” inspired decor. Sleek seating and illuminating blue lighting create an entrancing atmosphere reminiscent of partying under the sea. Normally open to only the 21+ crowd, Aqua opens its doors to 18+ every Thursday evening. And if you happen to be a college student, don’t forget to bring your college I.D. along, as flashing it to the bouncer gets you in free of cover charge if you arrive before 11 p.m. Fashionable attire is required so dress to impress or you’ll receive a failing grade and be denied access to Aqua’s amenities.

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The Triple Rock Social Club

(credit: triplerocksocialclub.com)

Triple Rock
629 Cedar Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 333-7399

If flashy clubs whose DJs primarily spin top 40s hits and require a certain type of attire just aren’t your thing, head on over to the Triple Rock. Like First Avenue, many of their live shows are friendly to the 18+ crowd. The Triple Rock features a divided venue, the “show room” dedicated to the hosting of live and local bands which are typically booked most nights of the week. Alcohol is not served or allowed in the “show room” during 18+ shows, so thirsty legal drinkers may head next door to the “old bar” to grab a brew between sets. Catch some great local live music, rock out, and mingle with like-minded underage music aficionados.

A Minnesota native that was born and raised Up North, Minneapolis is where Christina Kalinowski currently calls home. Christina appreciates irony, loves bacon, enjoys a hearty libation (drink responsibly, folks), and is an avid proponent of the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.