LUSH For Life


Photo by Mike Hnida

Northeast Minneapolis’ venerable GLBT institution rolls out a brand new look in time for Pride.

As beloved as it is as an inclusive GLBT bar and party space, even the legendary LUSH needs a revamp every now and then.

As you read this very article, a months-long renovation for the popular Northeast Minneapolis venue is now complete, and as LUSH reps James Nelson and Brian Johnston will tell you, you’re gonna love the way they look.

“We really started about a year and a half ago planning everything out, and since December, we’ve kind of been announcing things here and there,” said Nelson. “But the biggest changes happened (in the spring).”

The renovations to the property were far-reaching, from a complete overhaul of the bar and restaurant portion of LUSH, to a significant expansion of the entertainment venue.

LUSH was the beneficiary of a substantial expansion to its backstage area. Photo by Mike Hnida

“We’ve noticed that our food business has picked up so much in the last year with the addition of a full menu,” said Nelson. “And so we’ve envisioned this place in a way where we would hold big parties and dinner crowds more efficiently than the original nightclub design.”

As such, the bar and dining area has been refurbished with brand new white lounge furniture, tables, and bar stools, all designed for maximum comfort. Throw in brand new lighting and LED displays, and you’re guaranteed a top-notch dining and drinking experience.

The bar and dining area has been refurbished with brand new white lounge furniture, tables, and bar stools. Photo by Mike Hnida

“The point was to make it more comfortable, more inviting, and more lounge-like to get you to stick around,” said Nelson. “The structure of the space didn’t allow for as much service as you wanted.”

But the changes didn’t stop there. Renowned for their amazing drag and burlesque shows, LUSH has renovated their entertainment area pretty much from top to bottom.

“We’ve been really successful with our Drag Revolution show and brunch,” said Johnston. “And we’ve kind of hit a problem recently where we’re sold out in advance. And we said we’re going to jump in and expand and for greater capacity.”

The seating space in the entertainment venue has been doubled in size, as well as adding standing room back by the bar to relieve crowding. Along with a 16-foot projection screen, state-of-the-art video mapping, and widened aisles for better service, LUSH will make an already excellent entertainment service even better for patrons.

Image courtesy of LUSH

LUSH will also build a first-floor expansion behind the stage from scratch, adding dressing rooms for performers, new bathrooms, and storage space. The parking lot was also renovated, and valet parking is now an option for visitors.

The official grand re-opening for the brand spanking new LUSH is June 6, perfect timing for Pride Month. As always, LUSH is dedicated to offering a safe, inclusive environment for everyone under the rainbow.

“I think for regulars, they’re the people that inspired us to do the remodel and the expansion,” said Nelson. “It was because they liked so much of what we’ve been doing with our entertainment and our food program.

“They’re going to see more comfortable seating and more space and a better availability for shows,” Nelson continued. “With new people, we started making sure that everybody felt welcome here as we open a really wide LGBTQ+ umbrella. The better we all do, the better we all do, and this just proves it as we’ve reached out to more disenfranchised parts of our community.”

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