LUSH reopening in northeast Minneapolis

LUSH is reopening in northeast Minneapolis after an extended closure.

Popular northeast Minneapolis gay bar LUSH is set to reopen before the end of the year under new ownership after a $2.6 million purchase of the 11,000 square-foot building on Central Avenue.

LUSH abruptly closed in June 2020 and has remained closed for more than a year. The bar hosted drag shows and live music and earned Best Gay Bar honors from City Pages in 2016.

The new ownership team includes Andrew Rausch and Jared Lawrence. Rausch brings 20 years in the hospitality industry and 12 years performing in drag shows as Crystal Belle. Lawrence owns and manages multiple businesses and has performed on stage for the last 13 years as Nikki Vixxen. 

"I am so excited to see the revival of this bar that has changed lives and brought so many together. To be able to open our doors and welcome a community to experience top-notch entertainment in a truly premier space is a dream come true," said Rausch. "As a previous employee, I am thrilled to share the growth of LUSH! We have been working hard to create a new atmosphere filled with new and exciting experiences for everyone and I can't wait to share it with the Twin Cities!" 

The kitchen at the new LUSH 2.0 will be taken over by Jason Matheson’s Betty & Earl’s, but it will go beyond biscuits. 

"This project combines so many dreams of mine that I’m overwhelmed with gratitude," said Matheson. "Not only do I own a restaurant centered around my papaw’s name and biscuits but having that restaurant inside of a venue that I’m a co-owner of is beyond exciting. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I’m thrilled to work with great people like Andrew and Jared to create a space that not only reflects our community but invites everyone to a space where all are welcome."