By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s a lot of fun to be had in downtown Minneapolis, but some downtown bar owners and managers say the fun typically ends around midnight.

“By midnight the place is almost empty because people are trying to get out of Dodge,” Jay Ettinger, part-owner at The Pourhouse, said.

“All of a sudden its 12:30 and they’re like, ‘You know what, we don’t want to be part of the shenanigans down here. We’re going home,'” Tim Mahoney, part-owner of The Loon Cafe, said.

“Downtown is getting a little crazy,” Kristen Hicks, bar manager of The 508 Bar & Restaurant, said.

“What we’ve watched over the last seven years is just the decline of downtown Minneapolis,” Mahoney said.

They say late nights downtown bring out loitering, harassment and violence.

“It’s the wild, wild west out here,” Ettinger said.

“There’s a lot of violence out here. One of my security guards was actually shot,” Hicks said.

And that can leave a sour taste in customers’ mouths.

“That’s the problem. It’s not the people that are taking part in commerce that are causing these problems, it’s the predators on the street that are waiting for them,” Ettinger said.

“We’re tired of the violence down here. We’re tired of people getting beat up. We’re tired of people being robbed. We’re tired of people being shot,” Mahoney said. “We’re tired of it.”

Late last month, a Minneapolis Police Department official said it’s not uncommon to see an uptick in crime during the summer, adding the city is coming off a 30-year low of violent crime.

Even so, the Minneapolis Police Chief is asking the city for more officers. That’s something these business owners would like to see.

“We’re in trouble. I mean, we need more police officers,” Mahoney said.

“Really what we want to see more than anything is just an attitude that this is not going to be tolerated down here,” Ettinger said.

“We’ve been trying for years to get someone to do something for us,” Mahoney said. “All it takes is one person to step up and say we’re not going to do this anymore.”

“We’re all here to support the main cause of making sure downtown is a safe and positive environment,” Hicks said.

The Loon Cafe owner has been there 38 years. The other two have been owners or workers downtown for about 15 years. They say it was certainly not always the way it is today and they want to fix it.

Erin Hassanzadeh

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