When Haskell’s Wine Bar opened on Nicollet Mall in January 2018, chairman and CEO Jack Farrell was feeling hopeful.

The mall was still undergoing its multiyear reconstruction project, and he believed when it was done, downtown Minneapolis would come alive.

That didn’t happen, said Farrell, who closed the wine bar last month.

“Business was not really as barn-burning as we expected,” he said. “We envisioned a lot more traffic on the mall than we were getting.”

With years of closures curtailing foot traffic, retail and restaurant business, Nicollet Mall “has taken a real beating,” Farrell said.

Another factor: Panhandlers would approach outdoor diners on the wine bar’s patio, he said, and customers would “get up and leave.”

Haskell’s wine shop has been downtown since 1934 and will remain open at 81 S. 9th Street (612-333-2434, haskells.com). 

“Fortunately for us, we do delivery, so you don’t have to face these elements all the time,” he said.

Farrell isn’t looking at the wine bar’s 18-month run as a flop, but “it was just limping along,” he said.

He’d like to open it somewhere else. “We’re of the opinion, if it was anywhere else but where we located it, it might have succeeded.”