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“Wednesday nights are probably our busiest night currently,” Bowman said. “We host a college night with a beer bladder bust from 9pm until the first person uses the bathroom. That usually lasts for 30-45 minutes. We also have $5 domestic pitchers and $3 vodka drinks. The Crunchy Bunch usually joins us for a DJ set and 102.5 KDWZ does flippy cup tournaments at 10 and 11pm. They give out all kinds of prizes like t-shirts, Husky tickets and a lot of different beer glasses. You must present a student ID to attend the bladder bust, but all are welcome when it's over. This Friday the 9th we are also hosting the UMD welcome back week after party with free admission for those who attend and $3 - 24oz domestic beers on special.”

For many years the lowest level of Fitger’s has housed a college-aged friendly bar with bands and dancing on weekend evenings. My first review for the Reader was of a performance by a fairly unknown band called Cloud Cult with Trampled By Turtles as the opener back in 2004. Back in those good ole days when groups like The Dukes of Hubbard and Words To A Film Score played on a Saturday night the bar was known as The Tap Room.  The stained glass behind the bar serves as a reminder of The Tap, but The Rex has new bands that have taken over. 

“I would say that Big Wave Dave and The Ripples are drawing the biggest crowd.” Bowman explained. “They play Thursday nights around 10:30 and are a show you don't want to miss. If I have Thursday night off you are guaranteed to see me in the crowd dancing. They have an awesome horn section and play all different kinds of soul, funk and rock and roll music. There are other bands we bring in every few months that are always guaranteed to draw a larger crowd, but Big Wave Dave is definitely bringing in some large volumes of people. They also like to bring in special guests on the horns as well as vocalists like Sarah Kreuger.”  

Bowman talked about some of the other bands playing there and said there is usually a $3-5 cover.  

“We bring in all kinds of acts from throughout the Midwest including bands/groups like Heatbox, The 4 on the Floor (Willie Nelson opener), Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Pert Near Sandstone and in the past we have also had Trampled By Turtles. We just hosted the Willie Nelson after party with Erik Koskinen and he brought down TBT fiddle player Ryan Young, which was a really fun night.”

You can find out about upcoming events by becoming a friend of The Rex on Facebook or calling the bar at (218)733-3090.  There are a few other places around the area that you need to know about or get to know again.