CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER , Star Tribune
St. Paul’s longest-lived downtown nightclub and a mainstay for jazz purists three decades running, the Artists’ Quarter will shut its doors for good at the end of 2013. Choking back tears that no doubt will be shared by the AQ’s regular musicians and customers, owner Kenny Horst said, “This place is important in the lives of a lot of people, not just mine.”
Horst’s candlelit basement venue has enjoyed a faithful if not lucrative customer base since it relocated from Lowertown to the Hamm Building near Rice Park in 2002. However, Horst said his rent has “literally doubled” in recent years after his former landlord died.
“I cut my salary to where there’s nothing left, and I still can’t make the numbers work,” Horst said. “I still have great nights here, but one great night a week doesn’t cut it. People say, ‘The place was packed when I was there.’ The problem is everyone is there on the same night.”