Local bars look to expand premises

Gopher fans could be accommodated with more space at bars near the stadium on game days.

Local bars near TCF Bank Stadium are seeking a new city ordinance that would allow them to serve drinks and entertain outside their walls to accommodate the large crowds they are expecting on game days. Bars are generally allowed to apply to expand their premises up to four times a year, but under the proposed ordinance, an unlimited number of applications would be allowed. There are at least three bars in Stadium Village pushing for the ordinance, including Stub and HerbâÄôs , SallyâÄôs and Campus Pizza. Second Ward councilman Cam Gordon said the ordinance is likely to be approved, since he has not heard people voicing concerns. âÄúIâÄôm open to the idea,âÄù Gordon said. âÄúBut it will take a council action.âÄù Gordon sent the bar owners to the University neighborhoods, residents and business associations to make sure they are united under the ordinance change. âÄúThe Stadium Village Business Association sent me a letter supporting the idea, so I know they have talked to them,âÄù he said. There was a similar ordinance for bars around the Metrodome that allowed them to apply an unlimited number of times to expand their premises. Campus Pizza owner Jim Rosvold said if the city doesnâÄôt support the idea, it will be a huge disservice to the fans and to the city. âÄúGopher fans would like to have places to go and spend some time before and after the games, and we need to accommodate spaces,âÄù Rosvold said. Joe Ring , former president of the Prospect Park East River Road Improvement Association, said all sides should be heard on the issue. Even if the city approves the new ordinance, the bar owners are expected to intensify security and maintain order during the events. Gordon said failure to do so would result in denial of future applications. âÄúEven if we allow them to have up to 12 times a year, we are going to say, âÄòSorry, you had problems last time. We are not going to allow this time,âÄô âÄú he said. Ring said alcohol and violence go hand in hand. âÄúAnytime you have alcohol involved, there is a potential for problems,âÄù Ring said. Still Ring emphasized it is a matter of the establishmentâÄôs management. âÄúIt can be beneficial if they manage it properly,âÄù he said. Rosvold said the bars in Stadium Village area have good, long track records. âÄúI donâÄôt think youâÄôre going to see problems,âÄù he said. Gordon said if the bars want to apply for temporary expansion of premises, they will have to apply separately each time. Stub and HerbâÄôs general manager Jon Landers said they will be applying for permits for the first four football games. Landers said Stub and HerbâÄôs has never used any of the four applications they are allowed by the city in the past. Stub and HerbâÄôs has plans to close down its parking lot area to provide a fun environment for crowds, with a controlled atmosphere. âÄúWe have hired some off-duty police officers and independent security on game days. We plan to provide a controlled and safer environment,âÄù Landers said. The outdoor area at Stub and HerbâÄôs will be completely separate from the inside. There will be a beer tap trailer and a small bar for patrons outside. They also plan to provide live music and sometimes a mixture of DJâÄôs, depending on what the customers like, Landers said. Even though the timeline for implementing the new ordinance is yet to be determined, Landers said he hopes the change comes in time for the fifth home game on Oct. 31 against Michigan State, when the four applications Stub and HerbâÄôs is allowed would be used up. Gordon said the ordinance approval might take a couple of months, but if everyone is in a rush to get it finalized, it would be implemented at the end of August.