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What would HHH do?

One item on Wednesday's Public Safety and Regulatory Services Committee agenda indicated what city leaders consider to be two problems plaguing the streets of Minneapolis--ticket-scalping and indoor smoking.

The committee approved "recommendations" from a "license settlement conference" regarding the liquor license for Hubert's, the venerable sports bar by the Metrodome.

Hubert's had apparently run afoul of authorities toward the tail of the Vikings season on two fronts.

For starters, city licensing inspectors found that "persons have engaged in the buying and selling, or arranging and promoting the sale of sporting event tickets on the licensed premises." Further, Minneapolis police reported "evidence that employees of Hubert's Inc. were observed allowing known ticket selling agents use of non-public entrances" to the joint.

Strike two against the establishment, according to the city's "findings of fact," was that "The City demonstrated that persons have smoked tobacco products in a temporary structure near the rear patio area."

Steve Anderly, owner of Hubert's, fesses up to Blotter via cell phone from Florida. "They noticed some scalpers coming in and out of the place unfettered, so to speak," Anderly says, referring to long lines that form outside of Hubert's on game days. "They want us to make sure we treat everyone the same."

As for the smoking, Anderly wryly notes that "people were smoking on the patio in what should be a canope, and not a tent. Apparently, you have to have the sides up so air can move through."

On January 8, Anderly and his attorney met with representatives of the MPD and the city's licensing department to agree to initiatives to halt such shocking activity.

The city report notes that Anderly was "very cooperative," and indeed he signed on to a number of must-dos to keep his liquor license, including prohibiting "employees or officers of Huberts Inc. from aiding or abetting the activity of ticket sales" to events at the Dome, directing "staff to ask those persons loitering in front of Hubert's Bar and Grill to move along," and not permitting "patrons to smoke tobacco products on any part of the licensed premises that is not an outdoor area."

Anderly, who once also had an ownership stake in Nye's, is resigned rather than combative. "I gotta play by their rules," he says, adding that he won't "knowingly harbor people who are doing something illegal." "I'm at the end of my career, not the beginning. I don't care to fight much any more."

Still, the self-described "lowly old bar owner" can't help but wonder what all the fuss is about. (And really, is all the War on Terror lingo really necessary?)

"Sure, these activites are illegal, and I understand that and will remedy that," Anderly notes. "But I think scalping is essentially a victimless crime. You'd think with everything going on around town, they'd have bigger fish to fry."