It turns out that 4 a.m. won’t be the last call after all at most places during the Republican National Convention—notwithstanding the still-vivid word-image (courtesy St. Paul City Council Member Dave Thune) of over-imbibed GOP lobbyists’ late-night spew sullying the streets of the Capital City.
No, if that happens, it’ll have to be due to the effects of a hip flask or a de-stocked mini-bar. In today’s Pioneer Press, Justin Hoppin paints a picture of nighthawks as a rare species during the RNC, with the number of St. Paul applicants for the newly enacted special RNC 4 a.m. closing time license now holding steady at exactly zero. (Intriguingly, the Minnesota Independent found that’s the same number of applicants for newly enacted permission-to-protest ordinances in Minneapolis and Bloomington.)
Have hopes for the big bar receipts that later closing times were supposed to bring gone belly up? Not quite.
By comparison to St. Paul, the special late-night RNC liquor license bureaus in Minneapolis and Bloomington have experienced a veritable rush of business. Bloomington granted an extra two hours to 12 bars that already pay $200 to serve until 2 a.m. In Minneapolis, where Mayor R.T. Rybak asserted a late closing was the test of a “fun city,” nine night spots (three of them strip joints) have ponied up $2,500 to stay open two extra hours for the public. A dozen more—with RNC bookings in hand, presumably—dug deep to pay a freshly-lowered $100 fee to serve private parties until 4 a.m.
That lower fee came after city officials, among them Minneapolis City Council Member Lisa Goodman, argued that attendees of private parties that let out at 4 a.m. will not place as much extra demand on police services as regular Joes who leave establishments that are open to the public at that hour. And under state law, the argument goes, the cities’ special license fees must be tied to actual costs they expect to incur.
All those potential constituencies for later bar closings in Minneapolis raise the inevitable question: If there’s a mess one morning on Hennepin Avenue during the RNC, who barfed?
Was it one of Thune’s “puking Republican lobbyists”? A distinguished member of Goodman’s coterie of well-behaved VIPs? Or the average Twin Citian without any RNC connections whom Seville Club owner Dino Perlman says he expects to serve late into the night? We may never know.
Only one thing is certain: Perlman’s claim (as paraphrased in the PiPress) that he’s made “no calculation that convention-goers and strippers go hand-in-hand,” made this reporter spew his coffee.