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Citing approved minimum wage hike, popular Minneapolis bar to close after 12 years in business

Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis. (Photo courtesy of Whiskey Junction Facebook Page)

Live music venue, bar and restaurant Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis will close at the end of the year.

Owner Tom O’Shea announced the closure on Facebook, citing the city’s recent minimum wage increase, which was passed earlier this year.

A portion of his post reads, “Unfortunately, after recent changes in the Minneapolis ordinances regarding minimum wages and primarily the lack of a tip credit provision, we feel now is the time to get out of the bar business. We fought for a voice to explain how minimum wage without a tip credit will be detrimental to the small bar and restaurant owners of Minneapolis but we were not listened to. Therefore its on to the next adventure!”

Minneapolis will increase its minimum wage over a phase-in period of five to seven years to $15 an hour, regardless of whether workers earn tips. Restaurant workers fought for a tip credit to help offset costs to small businesses that run on razor-thin margins, but were unsuccessful. A similar proposal is brewing in St. Paul.

O’Shea has owned Whiskey Junction for 12 years, but the building has been around, serving as a saloon of one sort or the other, since the late 1880s.