For some Minneapolis bars, the Super Bowl business boom never arrived

Fear of the crowds encouraged locals to stay at home.
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You saw the headlines when it was announced the Super Bowl was coming to Minneapolis, promising a huge boost to the local economy as visitors swarmed to the Twin Cities.

Initial estimations were that the game would increase spending by around $340 million, though the New York Times spoke to sports economists who suggested that the actual benefit would be much lower, anywhere between $30 million-$130 million.

And while there are undoubted winners from the service industry – Manny's Steakhouse and Spoon & Stable among those welcoming high-profile guests – other bars and restaurants have been left wondering where the supposed business boom went.

'It was a bit of a letdown'

Among those was the Black Sheep, whose locations include the North Loop and Eat Street in Minneapolis, and downtown St. Paul.

Area manager Kristina Lawson told GoMN that despite a busier end to the week following a slow start, they had been expecting more.

"I think that there was so much out there saying how chaotic it was going to be downtown that the local folks stayed in also," she said.

"Today [Sunday] we have been full most of the day but we were definitely expecting to be much busier. It is a bit of a let down after all the hype but we are having a blast getting people in from all over the country."

There were similar stories from elsewhere in the city. MPR reports that there were contrasting fortunes in and around Nicollet Mall – the epicenter of the locally-run Super Bowl Live festival.

While bars like Brit's enjoyed a roaring trade, the nearby Hen House Eatery – about a block and a half off the mall – was left disappointed.

Anecdotes from other Minneapolis restaurants were in the same vein.

An event for the 'elites'

Closer to U.S. Bank Stadium, the Eagle Bolt Bar enjoyed a decent Super Bowl Sunday evening, but performance the rest of the week left a lot to be desired, even though the nearby Guthrie Theater sold out much of its events space.

Owner Ed Hopkins told GoMN that his was among the businesses that felt "shut out" by the Super Bowl, with an area near his bar taken over for the Guy Fieri-hosted Super Bowl Tailgate Party.

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"I didn't realize it was such an elite event until I lived through it," he said. "The Super Bowl Committee rented out the lot next to us for the Chef Fieri event, so we lost all that parking and potential customers too.

"This was the first night of the Super Bowl that we benefited from the game. Friday night was our regulars and Saturday was horribly slow. Our regulars stayed away wanting to avoid downtown this weekend.

"Watching the games with the fans in our place tonight felt great because maybe all of us couldn't afford to participate in the sanctioned Super Bowl events or chose not to spend that kind of money."

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