Days after a shooting that left three injured, Aqua Nightclub and Lounge in downtown Minneapolis has temporarily closed, and the city may take away its liquor license.
City licensing officials met with bar owner Freedom Brewer on Monday to discuss consequences for the security lapse that preceded someone opening fire inside the club early Monday during a packed rap concert featuring Lil Durk Live.
The club, at 400 1st Av. N., voluntarily closed for a week. If the owners don’t surrender their liquor license, the city may take steps to revoke it, said Linda Roberts, interim manager of business licensing for Minneapolis.
“It might make sense for this business not to operate for a while,” said City Council Member Steve Fletcher.
The city cited Aqua six times this year for license violations, according to city records. This includes two early Sunday — just 24 hours before the shooting — when a city inspector found the bar wasn’t properly scanning IDs and served liquor when it wasn’t supposed to.
The bar’s license requires security to stop weapons from getting inside by scanning every patron with a metal detector wand upon entry.
“Clearly that didn’t happen,” Fletcher said.
In a statement, Andrew Bardwell, a lawyer representing Aqua, said the owner has not yet made a decision about the future of the business.
“In the wake of such an event, emotions run high,” Bardwell said. “Obviously, the number one priority of all involved is the safety of our guests, our staff, and the community. The knee-jerk reaction is clearly to blame [the owner], but the situation is not that simple.”
Bardwell said shuttering the business would “only increase the damage resulting from the incident.”
He said the business is reevaluating its security protocols and “remains committed to working with the City in a collaborative way to find a resolution that preserves public safety, protects the livelihoods of Aqua’s staff, and allows the club to continue to contribute to the diverse and vibrant downtown scene.”
Roberts said the city tries to educate businesses on best practices after citing them for violating city code, but Aqua has not heeded their guidance in the past. In these cases, “we’re not given much of an option,” she said.
No one has been charged in the shooting.