City Council grants all Minneapolis bars a later last call

The council voted in favor of extending bar closing time to 2 a.m.

by Branden Peterson

University-area bars will be allowed to serve alcohol until 2 a.m. beginning July 1.

The Minneapolis City Council made that decision Friday when it voted 11-2 to extend citywide bar times by one hour.

Their approval of a later closing time follows a week of uncertainty for several University-area bar owners who said they were surprised to learn some members of the City Council opposed the new closing time for any bars outside downtown Minneapolis.

The state Legislature approved an optional bar closing law this spring, leaving individual cities the option to accept later closing times.

Council support for a later closing time downtown appeared unanimous, but members grew leery when they considered how a 2 a.m. last call would impact quieter communities.

Members devised maps highlighting certain downtown and city entertainment zones where the 2 a.m. option should be applied. But as more “patchwork” zones developed, support for the option declined.

City Council member Paul Zerby, 2nd Ward, represents some University neighborhoods and opposed extending the new bar time to areas outside downtown Minneapolis.

Zerby said he based his decision on concerns raised by the University’s administration and by residents of Marcy-Homes and Southeast Como neighborhoods about loud and disruptive bar patrons moving through the neighborhoods.

“They don’t want a 2 a.m. bar close. There’s no doubt about that,” he told council members. “The University is making strenuous efforts to try and keep up with a very pervasive problem over there. We are not helping that; we are hurting it.”

Jan Morlock, University community relations director, said an extra bar hour will likely contribute to alcohol consumption problems among students.

“I wouldn’t say that we necessarily would expect that there would be more problems with uncivil behavior,” Morlock said. “But we want to have an academic culture.”

Council member Lisa Goodman, 7th Ward, and others said the downtown-only ordinance could cause intoxicated individuals to rush from neighborhood bars to downtown for the 2 a.m. bar time.

She said University students already travel from bar to bar, which led her to believe the ordinance would be problematic.

“We’re foolish to think people don’t move between one area of town to the other depending on the hours of operation. It’s so obvious that happens at the University of Minnesota,” she said.

Goodman told council members communities around the University do not blame bars for problems in their community.

“They have said they have less problems with the bars and more problems with party houses than any other problem at the University,” she said.

Despite neighborhood concerns, the

council passed the ordinance, in part to

accommodate a Shrine of North America – better known as Shriners – convention in July.

Minneapolis bars, restaurants and officials have pushed for a later closing time for more than a decade.

Bar reaction

Located close near the Radisson-Metrodome hotel, Sally’s Saloon and Eatery frequently serves visitors in town for conventions and sporting events.

The restaurant and bar plans to take advantage of the 2 a.m. closing time, especially when the University football season begins.

Todd Pattersen, co-owner of Sally’s, said the City Council’s alcohol abuse concern is warranted, but the 2 a.m. close time should not affect the issue.

“When this all blows over in the end, it won’t change anything,” he said.

Branden Peterson welcomes comments at [email protected]