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Minneapolis council committee clears extra ‘event days’ for bars

The plan would allow 12 days a year for outdoor promotions as long as establishments conform with all city ordinances.

I missed the contentious Vikings stadium vote, but I got back in town from vacation just in time for another big vote at Minneapolis City Hall — an ordinance allowing holders of on-sale liquor, beer and wine licenses four extra days of “events” at their places of business.

We’re talking a total of 12 days a year when they can turn their parking lots or patios into whatever attracts patrons as long as they otherwise conform with all Minneapolis ordinances.  That includes the city’s noise rules.

The City Council’s Regulatory, Energy and Environment Committee approved the proposal Monday.

“That’s a whopping increase of four days a year,” said Council Member Gary Schiff, who sponsored the changes after a constituent with a struggling restaurant wanted to have music on his patio on Friday evenings in the hope that the music might attract more paying customers. 

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He was told he could do that only eight times a year, which he did not think would be enough dates to save the business.

Currently, two areas of the city allow bar and restaurant owners 12 days of events — the areas around TCF Stadium and Target Field.

“Businesses are now unable to use their own patios and parking lots” to attract customers, said Schiff, who believes a citywide standard of 12 event days would create a “level playing field.”

Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who chairs the regulatory committee, also wants required notification of neighbors in residential areas and clear rules about how events will be approved.

The committee also approved sidewalk tables and chairs for three establishments: Hazel’s Northeast (14 seats); the new Lunds on Hennepin downtown (six tables and 12 chairs); and Modern Times (six tables and 12 chairs).