Minnesota bars excited to welcome back late-night crowds

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DULUTH, MN– Late night happy hours are making a come back in Minnesota Friday with statewide closing times now lifted.

It’s news bar owner Dan Witzman of The Break Room has been waiting for after losing 60% of his business during the pandemic.

Witzman said 40% of their customers usually come in after 11 o’clock. Without those late-night customers, the pool hall has suffered.

“That late-night crowd has been virtually non-existent during the whole pandemic, so we are hoping to have that back,” said Witzman.

The same is true from 4th Street to Canal Park.

Maggie Gustafson and her team at The Ripple Bar said a weight had been lifted with this latest announcement.

“I couldn’t be more relieved, to say the least,” said Gustafson. “It’s hard not to get emotional about it.”

Last summer, The Ripple stayed afloat with an outdoor bar, but say the unpredictability came with challenges.

They are happy to be entering the summer months inside at their regular hours.

“We made it through the winter, we made it through the pandemic, and we’re ready for this Duluth summer to keep us going,” said Gustafson.

Witzman agrees and hopes these reinstated hours bring a boost in business.

“I think a lot of people are anxious to get back out in the nightlife scene, so I’m hoping that helps boost our summer,” said Witzman.

The most recent curfew began in mid-February when bars and restaurants were allowed to stay open until 11 P.M.

Before that, the curfew was set at 10 P.M.

In November of last year, Governor Walz closed bars and restaurants for four weeks after a surge of cases hit the state.

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