mpls: Molly Quinn's and the Smoking Ban

The denziens of Mnspeak.com had an interesting discussion about the smoking ban, set off by the news that the relocation of an East Lake landmark, Molly Quinn’s Irish Pub, to an Ethopian restaurant’s ex-haunts, wasn’t going so well. Somehow, the bar owner, ended up blaming the city’s smoking ban for his slow business, despite the fact that:

  • 1) his Irish bar is in an Ethopian restaurant
  • 2) he has built a designated outdoor smoking patio
  • 3) the entire country of Ireland has passed a smoking ban

Let me remind you that not only is Ireland the most alcoholic country on the planet, but it’s completely run by the mob. If Ireland can survive a smoking ban, so can the Twin Cities.

If the owner of Molly Quinns (which I happened to like very much at its old location) is looking for someone to blame for his economic woes, might I suggest SuperAmerica? It was their unnecessary expansion plans that led to a classically beautiful Irish pub annexing a classically beautiful Ethopian restaurant. There are plenty of parking lots that SuperAmerica could have turned into a Super SuperAmerica, but they had to choose the one with a local bar on it.

But that debate is ancient history, as will be Molly Quinns in the not-too-distant future. Too bad their Ethopian/Irish hybrid dinn’t take off. Now that Chang O’Hara’s is gone, that leaves Twin Cities Irish fusion in dire straights

More interesting is the never-ending debate on the smoking ban, which the Strib profiled today:

"What I'm here to ask you is to please, stay strong," said [Saint Paul City Councilmember Dave] Thune, who urged leaders of the state's most populous county not to amend its ban, and promised that St. Paul would soon adopt a measure similar to what's on the books in Hennepin County.

Now’s the perfect time to talk about this, because right now smokers throughout Hennepin County are trying to light their cigarettes in fifteen-degree wind.

This bit from the Mnspeak comments speaks volumes:

I've said it on here before that I support the smoking ban. That said, it does suck that places are closing, but I also think that the smoking ban is an easy excuse. IMO, places are closing because they didn't know how to support their business, they kept waiting for the government to come and save them by removing the ban.

Smoking patios are fine for some places, but maybe not for others. So as a business you need to keep thinking about what you can do to bring in more customers. Those that don't will fail, but those that can, will move on.

My $.02 on the subject.
»» Submitted by »»» moe at 8:58 PM on November 14

Bars should always be adapting to their changing neighborhoods and their new clientele. If you’re an African-American bar and all the black folk are leaving your neighborhood, you’re in trouble. The same goes for smokers. Schroeder’s, my neighborhood bar on Front and Maryland, just spent some cash and put some windows in their previously-monolithically-brick wall (see picture above). I’m sure they did this to attract a more interesting and niterested (in the outside world) clientele.

Good for you Schroeder’s. That’s what small, smoky corner bars are gonna have to do if they wanna stay in business. Next stop, Costello’s, where Dave Thune will finally get his way and end years of unnecessary smok-idy smoke-smoke.


American Lung Association of Minnesota said...

Thanks, we are doing what we can to make all Twin Cities places smokefree. What we can't do is make up for bad location, bad food, bad service or bad karma.

Thanks for helping us spread the word. Now let's make it statewide!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Your utter disregard for the bar owners & employees affected by this ban is both alarming & disturbing.

I guess I can see how it would be easy to blow off the 400+ liquor license holders in Mpls.(obviously many more in Hennepin county as a whole). Disparaging a business owner when they ask for relief from government regulation or taxes is a perfectly acceptable form of class warfare. Kudos.

Of course we know that the story will change when hordes of workers loose "good jobs," like the Northwest Airlines mechanics. When they loose their liveliehoods, they're getting screwed by the man.

So what about the hospitality industry workers? Who speaks for them?

More questions:

If businesses need to flexible in the face of changing circumstances, do they have a right to expect consistency from their elected officials? Do they have the right to invest in a business under the assumption that the rug won't be pulled out from under them?

Is it right for the government to "take" without providing compensation? And just because they can, should they?

for american lung:
if the location, service, food, and karma were okay before the ban, why are they bad now. You are a soulless bastard, Bob. Karma's gonna get ya.

Anonymous said...

Molly Quinn's was not a "hybrid" it just so happened to reside in a former Ethiopian restaurant space. Labeling it such was misinforming the uninformed. The demise of Molly Quinn's was much to blame on the owners, one who I liked very much but unfortunately had a huge alcohol problem. Most bars, to this date, have adjusted to the smoking ban if they have any amount of business savvy. Too bad another great watering hole was lost to bad management.

willy said...

Its as much of a habit to walk in Molly Quinn's once a week as my smoking habit & get the fish & chips, a pint of Guiness and relax after with a smoke as smoking The place was doing very well. They had been doing very well' good crowds up til the ban. It can't be denied. Its not that I refused to go but rather accomodated my smoking habit elsewhere. I changed my routines. This was a Irish pub not an Ethiopian restaurant. It was easy for me to cross the Ford bridge and highland park has a lot to offer in a variety eating establishments. I went to Molly Quinns and I was the only one there. They shortly after shut down. If I were to light up I would be the only one to complain.

Anonymous said...

ireland is not run by a mob you dumbass.

Bill Lindeke said...


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all this kind of place must have a specific smoking zone, you know we are someones that like to enjoy a good cigarrtte after eat of well with a good liquor.

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It can't have effect in fact, that is exactly what I suppose.

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