2018 Super Bowl could mean overtime for area bars

Football fans who flock to Minnesota for next year’s Super Bowl could get a bar-time bonus.

A bill introduced Thursday in the Legislature would allow Hennepin and Ramsey Counties to push bar closing time to 4 a.m. instead of the regular 2 a.m. It’s similar to the extended service hours enacted when the Republicans held their national convention in St. Paul in 2008.

The bill’s sponsor Rep. Ray Dehn, DFL-Minneapolis, said events the size of the Super Bowl move to their own clock.

“Often times there will be other events and activities that people will be to in the evening, so they may actually be arriving at a bar later than they normally would,” Dehn said. “The question isn’t what does an extra two hours get you. The question is what kind of time will they have in a bar in the end.”

If approved, the special 2018 closing hours would be in effect from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5. The game will be played on Feb. 4, 2018.

Local regulators would be allowed to collect an extra licensing fee for establishments that want the extra time.

Dehn said some city establishments are hoping for the opportunity.

“Bars make their revenues from selling liquor to people and if they have the ability for an extended period of time I’m sure it will help their revenues as well,” he said.

Dehn said he’s not aware of any other requests from Super Bowl organizers or the NFL for the current legislative session.

“At the same time, it’s the NFL, it’s a huge event. I wouldn’t be surprised if they come for other asks here at the Capitol,” he said.