For Uptowners who tipple or maybe just enjoy a wee dram from time to time, the current stock of liquor stores in the area is adequate in every sense of the word. Each has their perks and drawbacks — Lowry Hill has the “have a magical evening” Vikings-lover guy, Emerson-Lake doesn’t take credit cards, and so on. Most of us tend to shop at whatever locale is most convenient on a given day; if I want a sixer on the way home from downtown, Lowry it is.
But why not expand the retail choices in the area? After all, none of the businesses seem to be failing, and not all of the existing retailers have a very broad selection or are within easy walking distance of our apartments and houses. If an entrepreneur is interested in opening a new liquor store in one of our community’s many commercial properties, more power to them. Right?
New legislation drafted by Uptown’s own City Council Member Meg Tuthill expanded the “no sell zone” around schools and places of worship. The revised ordinance changes the rules to prevent liquor stores from opening within 300 feet of schools and churches’ property lines, rather than their front doors. The ordinance grew out of a desire to stop one particular businessman from opening a liquor store across Hennepin Avenue from Jefferson school. Given that most 13-year-old boys can’t grow a mustache, it remains unclear what the exact problem posed by the liquor store would be.
In any case, this raises a good question for anyone who has ever craved a can of Surly Furious (or handle of Jim Beam, if that’s your thing): where can new liquor stores open in the Uptown area? This map illustrates just one layer of regulation facing potential shopkeeps, but perhaps the most restrictive. City ordinances say that new liquor stores cannot open within 2,000 feet of another liquor store’s front door. And now we have Council Member Tuthill’s tightening of the school and church rules.
All of this means one thing: the continuing expansion of Uptown’s Moral Reef; its Sobriety Sector; Tuthill’s imagined Temperance Town.
Alliteration aside, what do you think? Are the new (and existing) regulations really necessary? How can they be improved? And perhaps most importantly, who is going to open a true craft beer store on Hennepin?
Note: this map is for illustrative purposes only, and shouldn’t be interpreted as the letter of the law.