Open 'til 4 a.m.? Twin Cities bars might be when the Super Bowl is here

A bill at the Capitol would let Twin Cities bars stay open longer on Super Bowl weekend of 2018
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Whether they're celebrating a victory or drowning their sorrows, Super Bowl fans may have a couple extra hours to do it when the big game comes to Minnesota next year.

State lawmakers are considering giving Twin Cities bars the OK to stay open until 4 a.m. during Super Bowl weekend of 2018.

Under a bill that popped up at the Capitol Thursday, cities in Hennepin or Ramsey Counties could extend their latest bar closing time to 4 instead of 2 a.m. Any nightspot owner who wants to serve until 4 would have to buy a special permit from the city.

They may actually be arriving at a bar later than they normally would

State Rep. Ray Dehn is the bill's lead author. He's a Minneapolis DFLer and Republicans have control of the House, but the Associated Press says the measure has bipartisan support.

The game is still more than a year away but Minnesota's Super Bowl Host Committee is up and running and can be expected to pull together a bunch of events leading up to Super Sunday, which is Feb. 4 in 2018.

Dehn tells MPR News the later bar closing would mean visitors who are busy with other stuff (like maybe the actual Super Bowl) earlier in the evening could still spend some time in Twin Cities watering holes.

“Often times there will be other events and activities that people will be to in the evening, so they may actually be arriving at a bar later than they normally would,” Dehn says.

Wouldn't be the first time

There are a couple precedents for this.

When the Twin Cities hosted the Republican National Convention in 2008, lawmakers allowed cities to let bars stay open 'til 4. But the $2,500 cost of the special permit was so high, there weren't many takers until the fee was lowered.

Even then, some bar owners looking back on it after the convention were not sure the 4 a.m. permit was worth it. The bill Dehn introduced Thursday caps the fee a city can charge at $250.

When Target Field hosted baseball's All-Star Game in 2014, more than 30 bars and strip joints near the ballpark took advantage of a one-night-only 4 a.m. license.

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