Updated: 07/15/2014 9:02 AM
Created: 07/14/2014 7:09 PM KSTP.com
By: Stephen Tellier
The best baseball players in the major leagues will descend on the diamond in Minneapolis on Tuesday night, and after the final out of the All-Star Game, the downtown bar scene will be going to extra innings.
The last time bars in Minneapolis were allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. was during the Republican National Convention in 2008. But on Tuesday night - or rather, Wednesday morning - 30 bars will once again remain open until that hour.
Baseball and booze mean big business. And for a Monday afternoon, The Loon Cafe, just a couple blocks from Target Field, was hopping in advance of the Home Run Derby. If the crowds were like that then, just imagine what they'll be like on Tuesday night after the All Star Game.
That's why many nearby bars will keep the beer flowing two hours past the typical 2 a.m. last calls.
But it almost didn't happen.
"Originally, the asking price was way too high," said Tim Mahoney, owner of The Loon Cafe.
Bars that want to stay open until 4 a.m. Wednesday morning had to get a permit to do so. Mahoney said the city originally priced those permits at $2,500 apiece. Many bar owners balked.
"Then the city got together and said, 'You know what? Let's make this reasonable. Let's try this thing out, see if people will do it," Mahoney said.
So the city cut the cost to $250 per permit. Thirty bars signed right up.
City officials say workers at each bar met one-on-one with police officers to ensure safety in the wee hours of the morning.
"The Minneapolis Police Department did a security check on everybody to make sure that there's certain standards," Mahoney said.
The goal is no disturbances and plenty of dollars. Mahoney said he expects a 10 to 15 percent boost in revenue this month because of the All-Star Game festivities.
Two extra hours of post-game sales should certainly help.
"It's an experiment for the city as well. I mean, if this happens, about the Super Bowls, the Final Fours and stuff, if this 4 a.m. license thing works, and everyone behaves themselves and it goes over well, then we can probably continue to do it," Mahoney said.
City licensing inspectors will be out in the area around Target Field Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, making sure that bars that don't have a special permit close their doors on time at 2 a.m.