MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A popular downtown Minneapolis establishment is getting set to reopen.

At the beginning of March last year, Brit’s Pub was getting ready to celebrate its 30th year in downtown Minneapolis. Then, COVID-19 hit bringing a shutdown and restrictions. Months later in August, rioters and looters broke inside after false rumors circulated that police had shot a Black man on Nicollet Mall.

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“The summer was going to be massive. There were lots of soccer tournaments happening which we do well. Which everybody knows,” said Shane Higgins, Brit’s Pub general manager. “They got in and damaged and set fire to this room. They were stealing bottles and smashing things, wrecking things.”

Higgins and his crew have since cleaned up from fire, smoke and water damage. There are new couches, carpeting, pool tables and tv’s. And on Friday at 4:00, Brit’s will once again open its doors.

“There’s a bit of trepidation as well, obviously. But we are excited to re-open, see some regular faces and we’ve got a lot of goodwill I think in the city,” said Higgins.

During a normal summer Brit’s would have 170 people on staff. They’ll start with about 40 this weekend.

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There were no lawn bowling leagues last summer, which is one of the things Brit’s is best known for. Those will return this spring along with the big screen for watching rugby, soccer and Twins games. Yoga on the rooftop will also return.

But for now they’ll focus on just opening the inside, where the fish and chips will be waiting.

“It’s time. Spring is here. Sunshine is coming. The vaccine is coming. There is a bit more confidence,” said Higgins.

Initially, Brit’s will be open on Thursday and Friday evenings, and also all day on Saturdays and Sundays. But they are hoping to increase those hours soon. They’ll also be looking to hire more employees as the weather warms up.

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Higgins is hoping Target Field, the Convention Center, Orchestra Hall and hotels will also start seeing more traffic, which in turn, would help Brit’s.

John Lauritsen