Three Bars Have City's OK To Serve over Christmas
Shortstop, G.B. Leighton's and Two Stooges will stay open over the holiday.
Three Fridley bars will legally serve alcohol over Christmas this year. Two Stooges Sports Bar & Grill, Shortstop Fridley Bar and Grill and G.B. Leighton's Pickle Park sought and received new City of Fridley "holiday endorsements"—permission to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption between 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 8 a.m. on Dec. 26.
Fridley Ordinance 603.11 prohibits bars from selling intoxicating drinks during that holiday span, but a new provision allows establishments to seek an exemption.
Lt. Michael Monsrud said the change means the Fridley Police Department will have five officers on the streets between 7 p.m. Christmas Day and 3 a.m. on Dec. 26. That's the usual number for a regular day, but in past years the department only required four officer for the usually quiet Christmas shift.
Monsrud cited a correlation between alcohol consumption and calls for police. Every officer on duty may be needed, he said, "if something goes terribly awry [at a bar]."
Now Open on Christmas
"We always had people showing up, not realizing we weren't open [over Christmas]," said Ben DePriest at Two Stooges. This year, word is out that the bar is open. "I think the drinkers caught wind of it," DePriest said. The bar will be open at 9:45 a.m. on Dec. 24 and noon on Christmas Day, with a closing time of 2 a.m. both days.
Are the bars doing special advertising to draw Christmas crowds? "No, we're not," said Shortstop Fridley Manager Karleen Gehrig. Shortstop will be open from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. on Dec. 24. On Christmas Day, doors open at 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.
The 2 a.m. closing time carries over from a separate endorsement from the city allowing some bars later hours, according to City Clerk Deb Skogen. The new holiday endorsement arose out of citations against two establishments—the Shortstop and Baggan's Pub—for serving over Christmas last year.
Not Everybody Has a Family
The main page of G.B. Leighton's Pickle Park's website carries this announcement: "For the first time, Pickle Park is OPEN ON CHRISTMAS EVE! After the gifts are opened, come join us for LIVE MUSIC by Dark Horse and Love Removal Machine!"
Manager Amanda Knaeble said customers have gotten the message. "We've had posters up for months," she said, and the bar has emphasized the point in email blasts to its fans.
The bar opens at 11 a.m. on Dec. 24 and at 2 p.m. Christmas Day, with a closing time of 2 a.m. both days.
The bar is offering bands with no cover charge "as a Christmas gift to the community," said Knaeble, adding that bars in surrounding cities have been able to serve alcohol on Christmas for years.
"Not everybody has a family," Knaeble said. "For some people, the bar is their family."