City liquor store hours likely to get longer

Off-sale liquor stores could stay open two hours later on weekdays and 3.2 beer joints could open earlier on Sunday, under a City Council proposal.

The changes would make city ordinances conform to newly flexible state laws, said Ken Ziegler, a city liquor license inspector.

Minneapolis has approximately 45 off-sale liquor stores, such as South Lyndale Liquors, 5300 Lyndale Ave. S. and Hennepin-Lake Liquors, 1200 W. Lake St. Under the old state law, they had to close at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The 2005 Legislature passed a law that allows off-sale liquor stores to stay open until 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

(The new law applies to off-sale liquor stores in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth and those within 15 miles of these cities, but in the same counties, Ziegler said.)

The 2005 Legislature also allowed cities to permit 3.2 beer bars to open at 10 a.m. on Sundays instead of noon, as long as they serve food, Ziegler said. ("Three-two" beer is 3.2 percent alcohol, a low alcohol content compared to most beers.) The law changes make 3.2 bar hours consistent with wine and liquor establishments and should help them attract the Vikings and playoff football crowds.

The city has approximately 40 3.2 bars, Ziegler said. He expected both ordinance changes to pass.

The Council's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee will hold public hearings on both changes Wednesday, Sept. 14. The committee meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.