Wild Greg's Saloon has closed in downtown Minneapolis.
The announcement was confirmed on the Facebook page of the venue – which is known for its 18+ club nights – on Tuesday, with owner Greg Urban pointing the finger at the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020, the riots of 2020, and the uptick in crime in recent years for the closure.
"We made the tough decision that the road to a prosperous Minneapolis was longer than we had hoped and that closing this location was in our best interest," he wrote.
He spoke in greater detail about the closure with Fox News, saying that his other Wild Greg's locations in Austin, Texas, and Pensacola and Lakeland, Florida are thriving.
While acknowledging that his Austin location also has crime issues in the vicinity, he argues there is less of a "perception of crime" that keeps people away, and you're more likely to see a police presence on the streets.
In the closure announcement, Urban thanked Minneapolis Police Department for their efforts. Wild Greg's is located around the corner from the MPD 1st Police Precinct.
A city council member in Vadnais Heights, Urban blamed Governor Tim Walz and Mayor Jacob Frey over the COVID restrictions and mask mandates, and said politicians, "especially the Democrats," are "afraid of the woke mob."
Wild Greg's along with all Minnesota bars and restaurants had to close for months in spring 2020 following the onset of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, and for a month in late 2020 as the Alpha strain surged.
Dozens of restaurants in Minneapolis closed at the time as a result. While business is still down compared to pre-pandemic levels, there are signs that 2022 will be a much better year for downtown than the previous two, according to WCCO.
Wild Greg's was among the businesses that sued for the overturning of Minneapolis' vaccine requirement for bar and dining entry, and also "banned" Gov. Tim Walz from its premises.
According to data obtained by ProPublica regarding the COVID-19 Payment Protection Program (PPP), Wild Greg's parent company Urban Entertainment LLC obtained $154,000 in forgivable loans from the federal government. Another of Urban's companies, Urban Companies LLC, had $405,000 forgiven.
PPP loans were offered to companies to help keep their workforces employed during the early days of the pandemic.
In the Fox News article featuring Urban, it's claimed that "much of downtown Minneapolis was vandalized" in the 2020 riots.
In reality, most of the damage sustained during the riots that followed George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer was centered in and around Lake Street in south Minneapolis, as well as in areas of north Minneapolis.
Downtown did take some damage during the "false rumors" riot of August 2020, but most of the damage was concentrated on Nicollet Mall between 5th and 12th.
There has been a significant uptick in crime downtown in recent years, as there has been across most of the Twin Cities, other regions of Minnesota, and the rest of the country since the pandemic started.
The Minneapolis police dashboard for the 1st Precinct shows a rise in assaults, thefts, and damage to property in 2022, but homicides are down.
Urban wrote an open letter to city and county leaders in summer 2021, expressing concern over the rise of gun violence.
Downtown business has also been impacted by the shift to work-from-home seen during the pandemic, which has resulted in companies such as Target reducing their downtown workforce.