Wild Onion sues to serve liquor on patio

How wild can the Onion's patio get?

How wild can the Onion's patio get?

The Wild Onion, a bar and restaurant on St. Paul's Grand Avenue known for its collegiate clientele and young women selling booze from ice tubs, has been trying to get a license to serve liquor on its back patio since 2009.

The Wild Onion claims the City Council acted improperly on the matter and has taken its case all the way to the U.S. District Court, the Star Tribune reports.


The Onion's owners applied for the outdoor license in April 2009 to permit them to serve alcohol on the 16-table patio until 9:30 p.m. The request was not out of character for the neighborhood, as both the nearby (and equally rowdy) Billy's and Sweeney's have been permitted to serve alcohol on their large patios. But the Summit Hill Association didn't support the Onion's permit and suggested several changes, including adding a privacy fence, sound barriers, and trees, with which the Onion complied.

But after the Summit Hill Association endorsed a trial license and St. Paul's Department of Safety and Inspections recommended approval, the license was still denied.

The Onion's lawsuit claims that Council Member Dave Thune told the Onion's owner that he would deny the license to ensure re-election votes from the bar's Crocus Hill neighbors and also that Thune improperly discussed the suit outside of council meetings.