Friday, January 10, 2003

Previewing The Bolt: New Bar Set to Open Next Door to Minneapolis Eagle

(Article published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #199, January 10, 2003)

The long-awaited expansion of The Minneapolis Eagle is about to become a reality. In the near future, a new bar called The Bolt will debut adjacent to the Eagle at 513 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis.

The new bar’s tag line—“I don’t give a damn about my bad reputation” (taken from a Joan Jett song)—describes the atmosphere Eagle and Bolt owner Ed Hopkins will be trying to create at the new place.

The Bolt’s doors were opened to the community for a sneak preview on New Year’s Eve in a condition Hopkins described as “75% done.” Visitors that night got an idea of the bar’s layout: they saw the plywood frame for the rectangular “racetrack” cruise bar (to be covered with a stainless-steel top, diamond-plate sides and galvanized-pipe railings and fittings) in the front half of the room. The back half of the room is devoted to the dance floor, and a back hallway from the dance floor area leads to the patio that The Bolt will share with The Minneapolis Eagle. The DJ booth is in a glassed-in area above the front entrance. The ceiling is high, and the black-painted walls will be illuminated with hanging high-school-gymnasium light fixtures. Hopkins designed the bar himself, working in conjunction with his general contractor.

A roll-up garage door in the center of one wall will be open at certain times to allow the crowds at The Bolt and The Minneapolis Eagle to mix but will separate the bars when the Eagle’s leather/levi dress code is being enforced. The Bolt, while hoping to attract a clientele somewhat similar to the Eagle’s, won’t have a dress code. “It has broken my heart to have to turn someone away from the Eagle because they couldn’t meet the dress code,” says Hopkins. “Now we can just send them next door.” One thing Hopkins says he hopes The Bolt will have in common with The Minneapolis Eagle is a reputation for being a friendly, no-attitude kind of place.

Hopkins makes no secret that he adores his staff. They’ve been instrumental in helping him get The Bolt going, and he says “Without them I could never do this.” DJ Joe Zapien will handle DJ duties on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Minneapolis Eagle bartender Jess will be The Bolt’s lead bartender on Wednesday nights and is planning a DJ contest to find and hire a DJ for other nights of the week. Former Minneapolis Eagle bartender Karl is back in town and will be The Bolt’s lead bartender for Tuesday’s “Classic Disco” nights. Plans call for various other theme nights throughout the week, possibly including women’s and country nights.

Now that The Bolt has had its preview on New Year’s Eve, Hopkins wants to get the rest of the construction finished before announcing the official opening date. Once it’s up and running, The Bolt will be open until 3 AM Fridays and Saturdays and 2AM Sundays.

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