Arts + Rec’s rooftop bar at Seven Points in Uptown.
Behind the art displays and lemonade stands that Lake and Hennepin will activate in Minneapolis for this weekend’s Uptown Art Fair, a business district is in an unprecedented state of transition. Commercial buildings on three of the four corners of one of the city’s most prominent intersections stand empty. The new Seven Points entrance on the southwest corner of the intersection is so discreet that at first glance the mall appears to be closed. And beyond Chase Bank’s new front corner branch, which has long housed restaurants — and a few other determined tenants — the mall is also a quiet shadow of itself inside.
But development is underway for a restaurant and entertainment venue that could get consumers excited to venture back into Seven Points (formerly Calhoun Square). And this weekend, visitors to the art fair will get a taste of what’s to come as Arts + Rec Uptown introduces its new rooftop bar and restaurant featuring “gourmet” – lofty honest fare like Dorito-crusted cod, fried pickles, and breakfast waffle dogs with craft cocktails, local beers, boozy popsicles and non-alcoholic options. It is the first phase of a project that will become one of Seven Point’s largest tenants, occupying 20,000 square meters on both the roof and the first floor, where a restaurant, bar and mini golf entertainment concept is currently under construction with plans to open this fall. Both spaces will be decorated with original works by numerous local artists. The roof features murals by Martzia Thometz and Bo Young An and metal sculptures by Allen Christian, who designs under the then name House of Balls.
“At Arts + Rec Uptown, we are creating a food and cocktail destination in the heart of the uptown neighborhood to highlight the amazing talent of our local artists,” said Ben Graves, CEO of Graves Hospitality, which oversees the concept, the development, and management of Arts + Rec. The parent company, Arts + Rec, is led by CEO Joel Hernandez and includes local creatives such as Jennifer and Chris Pennington who designed Can Can Wonderland. Their motto: “Have better fun.”
Graves has a vested interest in restoring Uptown as a creative hub and regional destination. The Hospitality company’s extensive portfolio includes the Tasting Room on 31st Street, near Ann Kim’s Sooki + Mimi restaurant, and the Moxy Minneapolis Hotel, with its two lobby bars.
At a time when many Uptown property owners struggle to sign leases and focus more on neighborhood services than the national brands that have fled the area, the Arts + Rec team believes the location can become a neighborhood magnet. (Apartments are planned for the western portion of the Seven Points estate.)
“Art and artists create change and create energy and excitement in a community,” Graves said.
Reservations for the Arts + Rec roof are now online at artsandrecuptown.com.