City of Minneapolis grants Hard Times Cafe business license

Seth Woehrle

The city of Minneapolis ended its yearlong battle with the Hard Times Cafe last Friday, granting it pending business licenses.

The Minneapolis City Council made the decision in a closed session. The council then held the vote in an open meeting, where it voted unanimously to grant the withheld licenses.

In exchange for the licenses, the cafe will drop its lawsuit, which contended council members discussed the case outside public hearings and considered outside evidence – two actions that had been prohibited by a county court.

The cafe had recently won a motion in Hennepin County 4th District Judicial Court that would have allowed it to begin discovery, collecting evidence from the council and taking depositions from members.

“By agreeing to give the Hard Times their license they negated the need for a case,” said Jordan Kushner, one of the cafe’s lawyers.

Kushner wouldn’t comment on whether the cafe might seek damages for the time it was closed by the city.

Ariel Pinkerton, a co-owner of Hard Times, said the city settled because of a change in political winds.

“I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that Joan Campbell, who was the head of this whole thing, didn’t even win in the primaries,” said Pinkerton, a senior theater student. “Sharon Sayles Belton is a little scared right now and trying to look good too.”

The mayor has to sign the City Council’s decision and file a document with the court before it becomes official.

“Most people don’t even know we’re open again,” said Pinkerton. “I run into people all the time who are like, ‘I thought the city closed you down. Oh, shit, I’m going to have to get so-and-so and so-and-so to get over here.'”


Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]