Cover bands often get a bad rap for singing the songs of others, but these are bands who sing songs you want to sing along to and it’s always fun to hear your favorites reinterpreted (and at a fraction of the cost of seeing the original). Plus, the talented crews of Minnesota often put together versions of classics that more than hold their own. Here are the best places to see them.
(credit: Lee's Liquor Lounge)

(credit: Lee’s Liquor Lounge)


Lee’s Liquor Lounge
101 Glenwood Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 338-9491
www.leesliquorlounge.com

This classic dive has long been one of the best places in Minneapolis for music. A no-frills, spit-and-sawdust place for strong drinks and good music, Lee’s guarantees nothing less than a hip-shaking, foot stomping night out. From Prince covers paying tribute to the local legend, to classics from every genre yesterday and today, there is a night for everyone. It’s fun, it’s loud, and there’s plenty of room to dance. Can’t really ask for more than that.

Icehouse
2528 Nicollet Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404
(612) 276-6523
www.icehousempls.com

One of the hippest places to see a cover band (or any band). Interesting and quality food and drink make it more than just a music venue, so you won’t have to go anywhere else in the neighborhood (although there are plenty of places) when out and about. You’ll also find some of the more interesting covers on this list, from jazz, soul, and funk, to flamenco, to accordion music churning out songs you never thought you’d hear played that way, it’s a joint that is, in a word, awesome.

O’ Gara’s
164 Snelling Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 644-3333
www.ogaras.com

The fact that the surrounding neighborhood has become one of the hottest areas in St. Paul hasn’t affected O’Gara’s good, old-fashioned charm. With shuttles to local sports events provided, it’s easy to forget that it’s also an event center in itself, and a great place to spend your evening. Grab a burger and a beer, but it’s also a lively venue that brings local acts and fantastic cover bands to their stage. Added bonus: The brand-new A-Line bus system stops right outside for a quick, efficient, and cool way to connect you to the Green Line train and other mass transit lines, and keep you from having to drive after one-too-many drinks.

Related: Best Cheap Live Music Venues In Minnesota

Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill
761 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 338-8188
www.bunkersmusic.com

In a neighborhood so hip it gets national attention, it’s sometimes hard to find a place to go and just let loose. No pretense, no obscene prices on drinks, just a good old fashioned music venue to enjoy music all night long. Bunker’s, in Minneapolis’ North Loop, is exactly that, offering a rip-roaring good time in a venue that is much unlike the surrounding cocktail bars and trendsetting restaurants. You can catch both reggae covers and Johnny Cash tributes here, as well as country, rock, blues, and jazz sprinkled in for good measure. Remember, it’s okay to have fun.

(credit: Turf Club)

(credit: Turf Club)


Turf Club
1601 University Ave W
St Paul, MN 55104
(651) 647-0486
www.turfclub.net

Rock n Roll is alive and well at this St. Paul institution. It’s a great place (one of the very best) to check out new music from both local and abroad, but also a great place to check out some of the best Twin Cities cover bands. Motorhead tribute? Check. Jazz brunch? Check. Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses covers at the same show? Check. Turf Club takes music very seriously, and this includes the very best cover bands: no half-assed acoustic shows that make you wish you were home listening to the original.

Related: Best Up-And-Coming Minnesota Bands To Check Out In 2016

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.