Bar owners ask St. Paul to repeal $2,500 license fee

Bar owners
With the GOP-clad Xcel Energy Center behind them, bar owners spoke at the Liffey Irish Pub Wednesday to ask the St. Paul City Council to eliminate its fee for 4:00 a.m. licenses. Photographed are, from left to right: John Wolf (Dixie's on Grand); Sean Fetterman (Innuendo); Bill Collins (Camp Bar); Kieran Folliard (The Liffey); and Kris Johnson, president of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

The Chamber points to the fact that nearly 30 businesses in Minneapolis have applied for a 4 a.m. license, where it costs only $100. In St. Paul, just one bar has applied.

Kieran Folliard owns that one bar -- The Liffey Irish Pub right across the street from the Xcel Energy Center. He says his location allows him to pay up.

"We're Irish, for crying out loud," noted a smiling Folliard. "We want to stay open late. We want to be open 24 hours a day, year round. But we'll settle for these couple of hours at this point."

But Folliard also says he'd like more bars open to help show off St. Paul to visitors.

Other bar owners say the license only creates two more hours of operations per night, not nearly enough time to make back the cost of the fee.

"By no means could we ever get that $2,500 back, being open those extra two hours," said John Wolf, who owns Dixie's on Grand in St. Paul.

When the Council approved the fee, members said it would help pay for extra police that might be needed at places staying open late.

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