Booze busts: Police will crack down on bars that overserve

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October 4, 2004 // UPDATED 4:15 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

The Minneapolis Police Department's 1st Precinct is cracking down on Warehouse District bars that serve customers too much alcohol.

Earlier this month, Luther Krueger, a crime-prevention specialist with the 1st Precinct, which covers Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods, circulated a photo of a man passed out on the stoop of an unnamed Downtown bar with his head resting near a stack of newspapers -- and his open wallet in plain sight.

The photo was attached to an e-mail urging bars to guard against the problem.

"We encourage you to link to the following photos taken of an individual who, fortunately, wasn't a victim. Unfortunately, he was passed out from being overserved at one of the Warehouse District bars," Krueger wrote in the e-mail. "This bar shall remain nameless, but our offices will now be documenting where and how much these real and potential victims, witnesses and arrested parties have been overserved. This information will be used to prepare cases for licensing action."

Most bars already have policies in place to avoid overserving problems. For instance, at Gluek's, 16 N. 6th St., bar security and servers watch for tanked customers, said the bar's Manager Dave Holcomb.

Rowdy customers are asked to leave, while other less- obnoxious intoxicated customers are allowed to stay, provided they are with friends who are looking after them, he said.

"All we feel we can do is to try to keep an eye on it. The servers usually talk to the people, but a lot of people will send a friend up to the bar if they think they might get cut off," he said.

Ken Ziegler, a city liquor licensing inspector, said the city doesn't have a clear-cut policy on overserving alcohol in licensed bars and restaurants.

"Because an overserving standard is so subjective, the city has not taken adverse action against a licensee specifically for that," he said. "Rather, we have taken action based upon the conduct of patrons who have obviously been overserved."

Ziegler referenced Banana Joe's, a bar that has since closed at 15 S. 5th St.

"We were on the verge of revoking [their license] when they went out of business," he said.