Whiskey Junction is dead, and the Cedar Avenue bar’s owners have fingered Minneapolis’ minimum wage increase as the murderer.
In a Facebook post yesterday, owners Tom O’Shea and Elizabeth “Little” Obregón announced that the bar would shut down at the end of December, and stated that the lack of a tip credit in the $15 minimum wage ordinance passed by the Minneapolis City Council this summer drove their decision.
“We fought for a voice to explain how minimum wage without a tip credit will be detrimental to the small bar and restaurant owners of Minneapolis but we were not listened to,” the post says.
Whiskey Junction is nestled over at the corner of S. 9th St. and Cedar Ave. in that cut-off area between Franklin, Hiawatha, and Minnehaha. It was built in 1886 by the Grain Belt and Minneapolis Brewing Companies, and except for a brief hiatus during Prohibition, it's always been a bar. It's offered live music since 1984.
The current owners bought the joint in 2006, but the transition was not a smooth one – the previous owner refused to turn the property over, and the fate of the building was tied up in a Hennepin County court for about a year.
Emerging victorious from their legal battle, O’Shea and Obregón re-opened the bar in 2007 and started booking live music. In the decade since, the venue has offered a healthy roster of bar bands most nights of the week, building up a crowd of loyal regulars.
The owners have not yet announced their plans for the building.