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St. Louis County pubs want early booze for Vikings game in England

DULUTH, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings will play the Cleveland Browns in London on Oct. 29 and bar owners in rural St. Louis County say they want in on the action.

Vikings game days are traditionally big days for watering holes across the county, but the game at Twickenham Stadium will start at 2:30 p.m. London time — 8:30 a.m. Minnesota time.

Unfortunately for the local bars, St. Louis County's liquor ordinance doesn't allow bars to serve alcohol until 10 a.m. on Sundays. State law allows Sunday bar sales as early as 8 a.m., as does the city of Duluth, but the county is more restrictive.

Rural bar owners have asked for a one-time exemption from the 10 a.m. rule just for the Oct. 29 football game. The request was formally made by owners of The Shack Bar and Grill, a tavern along U.S. Highway 169 about halfway between Virginia and Tower.

The board is expected to approve the change at its regular meeting set for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10., in the Rice Lake City Hall.

St. Louis County licenses and regulates bars outside incorporated cities. The board will have to suspend its rules to formally pass the ordinance because it hasn't yet been acted on by the board's committee of the whole as per procedure.

In other NFL-related news, the board is also expected to approve creation of a Joint Powers Agreement with the city of Minneapolis to support the public safety and security measures for the 2018 NFL Super Bowl set for February. Several county deputies have expressed interest in helping provide security at the event and the agreement would allow them to work at U.S. Bank Stadium.