Tempers flared last week after a link advertising a three-day Halloween bar crawl event in downtown Minneapolis was promoted on Twitter.
Who plans a bar crawl during a global pandemic? Who indeed.
The 2020 Minneapolis Trick-or-Treat Halloweekend, organized by the Blockparty Group, LLC out of Texas, opened its advertising with a question: "Are you tired of staying in?" The website then explains how the socially distanced bar crawl works.
You pay for your pass, between $20 and $30 depending what package you want. Then you select the night you want to attend, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. You’re then given the link to an app to download which plans out your night. An algorithm was created to make sure party-goers are socially distanced, basically creating an itinerary so groups don't overcrowd bars.
The five bars advertised on the Minneapolis route include Brothers Bar & Grill, The Pourhouse, Lyon’s Pub, Jackson’s Hole and Kieran’s Irish Pub.
The problem? None of the bars knew they were involved. That's according to the office of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who said the establishments were not aware of their supposed involvement in the event, and said people should steer clear of any website involving Blockparty Group, LLC.
As fact would have it, Kieran’s has been closed since Governor Tim Walz announced a partial shutdown of restaurants and bars on March 17.
On Monday, Jackson’s Hole warned on its Facebook page about what it described as an alleged "scam."
"Friendly heads up to all our great customers," it posted. "There’s a bar crawl being advertised downtown this weekend that includes us. That is not the case!!!"
BMTN reached out last week to Block Party, LLC about the bar crawl but didn't receive a response. At some point Tuesday morning however, Block Party, LLC updated the Minneapolis event page on its website, announcing that it has been canceled "due to COVID-19 concerns."
It did not acknowledge the lack of connection to the Minneapolis bars advertised, only offering a credit for a future Blockparty Group event.
"We are issuing out credit to everyone for their tickets which will be available for use in December for 2020 Minneapolis Santacon or all events in 2021," the group said. "Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions."
As of Tuesday morning, the Facebook event page had not been updated and tickets were still available for purchase. There is no online listing for Minneapolis Santacon either. There is a website for a Santacon event in St. Paul, but it doesn't even say if it's going to happen this year.
BlockParty's Facebook event page for the Minneapolis bar crawl currently has more than 100 people saying they will attend, with some people having already parted with their money to go to the event. There are a handful of complaints on its Facebook page from people saying the BlockParty app through which they access their tickets isn't working.
Identical events are being advertised in 20 other cities across the country, including Nashville, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Tampa and Milwaukee.
The link to buy tickets features identical text, photos and drink specials. Only eight of the 20 cities include bars participating in the crawl.
BMTN reached out to the owner of three of the bars listed for the Nashville event, who said their bars are not involved in the bar crawl.
Of the 20 cities listed, Minneapolis is currently the only one with a cancellation notice.
Anyone who paid money for the event and wants a refund can submit a complaint to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.