A 2 a.m. bar close won’t be returning to downtown Anoka after nighttime police incidents in the entertainment district dropped by more than half this year.
Last year the City Council decided not to renew permits for bars in the entertainment district to stay open until 2 a.m., so as of Jan. 1, 2019, all bars had to close by 1 a.m.
“There was a reputation that Anoka was a place to come and be rowdy after 1 a.m.,” Police Chief Eric Peterson said.
At a recent work session, Peterson told the City Council the earlier closing time had accomplished its goal.
According to data from Peterson, overnight police incidents in the entertainment district dropped 62% this year compared to last year.
The comparison looks at incidents between 10:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. from January through August in 2019 and January through Sept. 5 in 2018.
In that time period there were a total of 116 incidents in 2018, compared to 44 in 2019.
Five liquor license holders previously held 2 a.m. closing permits, according to Peterson: Billy’s Bar & Grill, Courtside Bar (no longer in business), Danno’s, MaGillycuddy’s and Misfits Saloon.
In addition to seeing reduced crime, the city saved money by requiring a 1 a.m. close. In 2018 police dedicated two officers to the entertainment district for four hours on Friday and Saturday nights. With the change in closing time, the city saved more than $15,000 in overtime costs, Peterson said.
Peterson recommended maintaining the 1 a.m. closing time.
City Manager Greg Lee said the affected businesses had been notified of the work session, but the city hadn’t received any feedback from them.
The council consensus was not to reinstate the 2 a.m. permits for next year.