MDH files lawsuit against Lakeville bar open without license

Although Alibi did reopen for dine-in service at 50% capacity on Jan. 11, as per Walz’s latest orders, the establishment opened without a license to operate.

Background: Alibi Drinkery/parkbench.com. Left: Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff/kaxe.org.

The Minnesota Department of Health filed a lawsuit against a Lakeville bar for continuing to serve food and beverages without a license.

Several actions have already been taken against Alibi Drinkery, which refused to shut down in compliance with the governor’s orders.

Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office was granted a restraining order against the bar, and MDH gave notice of its intent to suspend the bar’s operating and liquor licenses in December, when Alibi was found serving customers indoors despite a Nov. 18 executive order shutting down bars and restaurants.

The court granted Ellison’s request for a temporary injunction, meaning Alibi was court-ordered to comply with Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order and shut down.

The establishment still refused to comply and was found in contempt of court in a Jan. 7 hearing. Punishment for contempt is imprisonment or daily fines of $250, but Ellison’s office asked the court to raise the daily fines against non-compliant restaurants. This resulted in the court ordering Alibi to pay $3,000 per day each day it continued to serve customers before Jan. 11.

Although Alibi did reopen for dine-in service at 50% capacity on Jan. 11, as per Walz’s latest orders, the establishment opened without a license to operate.

MDH alerted Alibi on Dec. 22 that it would be suspending its operating license, which would take effect 20 days later. Separately, the same license to operate as a food and beverage establishment expired for Alibi Drinkery on Dec. 31, 2020.

A press release from MDH states that Alibi “continues to operate as a food and beverage establishment without a license, in violation of Minn. Stat. § 157.16.”

MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff said, “Even when there is no pandemic, the public depends upon the licensing of bars and restaurants as a basic public health measure —which is why the Legislature requires that bars and restaurants have an active license in order to serve the public.”

“Establishments who operated in defiance do not get a free pass,” Huff continued.

Early in January, Alibi was vandalized with phrases like “Fascist bar,” “Kill Nazis,” “Nazi scum,” and “f— Trump.” Surveillance camera footage captured six hooded and masked figures carrying out the vandalism, the bar said.