Star Trib: Alcohol Could be allowed at lake harriet

The following article by Eric Roper and Steve Brandt was published in the April 24, 2013 issue of the StarTribune:

Alcohol could be allowed at Lake Harriet

Will visitors to Lake Harriet’s refectory be able to enjoy a glass of wine or beer this summer?

The Minneapolis Park Board signed off on a resolution last week to support bringing alcohol to the lake’s two-year-old Bread & Pickle eatery.

The City Council still needs to approve the liquor license — a process that could take weeks — but it’s likely the business will be able to sell alcohol sometime this summer. Bread & Pickle hasn’t opened yet for the season.

Allowing the concession stand to sell beer and wine would bring it in line with Tin Fish and Sea Salt, at Lake Calhoun and Minnehaha Falls.

But don’t take that glass of beer too far. Alcohol isn’t allowed in city parks, except in specified areas. The size of that area was constrained by the Park Board (see for diagrams).

“It’s a smaller area,” said owner Kim Bartmann, who first started pursuing the license in fall 2011. “I believe it’s going to be very hard operationally. But I believe that unless I do it, it won’t be able to be expanded later.”

Arlene Fried, a co-founder of Park Watch, spoke at the board meeting against the original plan for where drinking would be allowed. She said planters and tables will create “barriers and congestion” for people walking through.

“Allowing one use to dominate this compact and very popular public area is poor planning, and in this case, just plain dangerous,” Fried said in prepared remarks. “The Lake Harriet concessions stand was never meant to be a wine and beer garden any more than it was meant to be a Dairy Queen.”