The east St. Paul bar that generated so much attention after declaring itself a "40-and-over" bar (they'd only serve patrons if they were 40 years of age or older, unless they were deemed worthy of a "VIP" card) is back to being a regular old 21-and-up bar.
Louie's management came up with the strategy of limiting service to older patrons in light of its ongoing problems with crime, which includes drug trafficking, prostitution, and violence, said Tony Carlson, manager of the bar.
"We had over 350 phone calls to the police — fights, drug-related calls. Yes, people get drunk and do stupid things, but this was above and beyond that." She added that the bar is paying steep fines to the city and has to appeal at city council meetings in order to make penance for all the trouble surrounding the bar. According to her, security cameras from the bar are linked directly to the St. Paul Police Department for surveillance purposes.
And yet, it doesn't appear that the policy has exactly been a panacea. On February 3, the Pioneer Press reported that police responded to a call at the bar when a patron said she was attacked by four other women in the men’s restroom. The bar is facing yet more fines from the city because it hasn't provided surveillance video to the police, a $1,000 penalty.
Carlson disputes that accusation, saying that the police should already have access to surveillance footage, and that they were never directly asked for the footage anyway.
Meanwhile, the bar has scrapped the 40-plus idea. The city of St. Paul Department of Safety and Inspections spokesperson Robert Humphrey told WCCO that having a 40-plus policy violates St. Paul Code Section 409.08, which prevents licensed businesses from restricting access to customers based on race, religion, sex, marital status, and age.
The city has offered to reduce fines levied against the bar if it can manage to stay out of trouble for an entire year, which seems like a tall order if history is any indication.
883 Payne Ave., St. Paul