Ever wonder why it’s so hard to get a mixed drink south of Lake Street in Minneapolis? We can thank the historic “patrol limits,” which were incorporated into the city charter in the 1880s. The ordinance required bars and liquor stores to be concentrated in select parts of town, with the rationale that police could more easily control liquor-fueled crime if all of these types of businesses were in one place. The city’s largest liquor zone was the Gateway district on the banks of the Mississippi River. Another was the “Hub of Hell”—shown on this map at the intersection of 27th Avenue and 25th Street.
This map delineates the liquor patrol districts in 1935, about 18 months after Prohibition was rescinded. It also shows the 37 establishments allowed to serve liquor outside of the districts. This group includes legendary institutions like the Nankin Cafe and the Curtis Hotel; it also includes highly selective locales like the Minneapolis Club and the Minneapolis Athletic Club, which were renowned for barring anyone who did not belong to the city’s Yankee elite. City voters were being asked to determine whether these outliers could continue to serve liquor. Voters must have approved this request, as a defeat would have provoked a revolt of the well-heeled. The first families of Minneapolis would not have ventured into the increasingly seedy Gateway for their daily cocktail. The liquor patrol limits were rescinded in 1974, though it is still difficult in Minneapolis to get a liquor license or serve liquor outside of these historic limits.
(image and text via The Historyapolis Project Facebook page)
Ack! Well, come drink beer and wine AND NOTHING ELSE at an establishment south of Lake Street tonight, everybody.
Neighborhood drinking establishments of any kind are hard to find to the south of Lake. I think neighbors would know each other better if they had more of these. Longfellow’s benefitted a ton from the Riverview Wine Bar, Harriet Brewing, Merlin’s Rest, and the new Blue Door Pub, which all bring in a solid share of customers from within walking/biking distance.
I’ve also wondered how much Prohibition factors into this. Most of South Minneapolis was developed in the 20s, where each neighborhood had a corner store, but not a bar. This is very different than the older communities of NE Mpls, St Paul’s East Side, and even Seward