My mother-in-law Elmarie loves jazz. Elmarie is 88 years old, and still lives on the family farm near Decorah, Iowa, but she is willing to travel a long ways to hear good jazz. A few years ago, Elmarie went all the way to Iowa City to hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra. So when Elmarie came to the Twin Cities over the Memorial Day weekend, we searched for a place where she could hear jazz on a Sunday night. Thanks to Pam Espeland’s excellent jazz calendar, Bebopified, we found some excellent options.
Moore by Four’s show at the Dakota was already sold out, so we opted instead for the Riverview Wine Bar, which features the Zacc Harris Trio on Sunday nights, (Zacc Harris on guitar, Matt Peterson on bass, Pete Hennig on drums) with no cover. Harris also plays with the Atlantis Quartet, which City Pages named the Best Jazz Artist of 2011. The music – mostly jazz standards – was great, though the place was packed and the ambient noise level was a little high for Elmarie.
This was actually my first visit ever visit to the wine bar side of the Riverview Wine Bar and Cafe, and I was impressed. The Wine Bar does exactly what a wine bar is supposed to do – offer a chance to explore a wide-ranging selection of interesting vintages from around the world. (I wish I had stolen a wine list, so I could give you the details.) About a dozen flights are featured, all priced at $12 for four two-ounce samples of wines from the same region, style or producer. No tap beers are available, but they do offer some interesting bottled beers, including Duvel from Belgium ($6.75), and Krusovice lager ($6), a traditional Pilsner-style lager from the Czech Republic.
The menu is mostly lighter fare – appetizers, pizzas and a few nightly specials. We ordered eclectically, and got to sample a rich and creamy artichoke dip ($9), a spicy Mexican chicken enchilada soup ($4/$7), a beet salad, a prosciutto and mango pizza ($11), and a pair of panfried fish tacos ($11) accompanied by guacamole and a lively black bean salsa.
This week’s music lineup includes the Overtones Jazz Trio at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Open Mic at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jeff Bjorgo (folk, blues and bluegrass) at 8 p.m. on Friday, Machinery Hill at 8 p.m. Saturday, and the Zacc Harris Trio for their regular gig at 7 p.m. on Sunday night. No cover for any of these shows.
The Wine Bar is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 to 12 p.m., and Sunday from 4 p.m. to midnight. The adjacent Riverview Cafe serves coffee, soups, salads and sandwiches, and is open seven days a week.
Riverview Wine Bar, 3747 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, 612-729-4200..