Beer Bottle Polka: city extends outdoor container hours

Minneapolis bars and restaurants can now serve beer in a bottle at outdoor venues until 11 p.m., expanding the serving window by two hours.

In June 2000, the City Council voted to require bars and restaurants to stop serving beer in bottles in outdoor seating areas after 9 p.m. as a safety measure. The Police Department asked for the restriction because of incidents in which people used the bottles as weapons and missiles.

The Council unanimously voted Oct. 21 to push the bottle curfew back to 11 p.m. Police officials do not believe the change would harm officer safety, according to a Sept. 16 memo from Lt. Robert Skomra, commander of the police license investigations division.

The requested 9 p.m. time &#8220was arbitrary and was made, erring on the side of caution,” the memo said.

The Police Department said the problem shows up closer to the 2 a.m. bar closing time.

Managers and owners of Downtown liquor establishments said the 9 p.m. outdoor bottle ban led to strained customer relations, notably with out-of-state convention attendees. The strain came when servers either tried to get the customer to move inside or tried to remove the beer.

Skomra's memo said making the change to 11 p.m., &#8220would enforce the viewpoint that the city of Minneapolis does listen to its license holders and makes reasonable accommodations when it makes sense.”