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Council approves move to space Lincoln bars out into street: 'This is worth the experiment'
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Council approves move to space Lincoln bars out into street: 'This is worth the experiment'

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City Council Tailgate Tour, 10.07.2017

Lincoln City Council members walk through the rooftop at Barry’s Bar and Grill on a gameday in 2017. With no fans allowed in the stadium this season, the city is looking to allow bars to expand their outdoor areas.

Husker football fans might be kept out of the stadium this season, but they may have a spot on city streets.

Lincoln City Council members unanimously approved temporary ordinances to allow bars to expand into the sidewalk and street to accommodate increased drinkers watching home Husker football games. 

The ordinances allow for special designated licenses and special event permits for Lincoln bars to be granted on days of Nebraska home games this season, as long as fans are prohibited from attending games. 

City officials believe the measure will allow authorized bars to safely expand their serving capacity while not crowding Husker game watchers indoors. 

Assistant City Attorney Tonya Peters told the council Eighth Street between P and R streets could be one of the first streets closed for the temporary expansion on Halloween, when Nebraska hosts Wisconsin. 

City Hall: Lincoln bars could expand into downtown streets for Husker gamedays

Canopy Street directly adjacent to the Railyard is already closed through Halloween as part of the city's current Dine Out program, and the Railyard is expected to seek an extension, Peters said. 

Joel Schossow, who owns McKinney's Irish Pub and Tipsy Tina's Taco Cantina in the Haymarket, has already applied for the new permits for all four home games. 

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He was the lone person to testify at Monday's meeting. 

If approved, the permits could help his businesses handle the likely influx of Husker fans wanting to get together to cheer on the team, he said. 

But he would ensure an expansion of his bar into the sidewalk and street would have tables and chairs for everyone, he said.

Cindy Lange-Kubick: Hallelujah, the final Hot Take on Big Ten football

"It’s not just going to be a free-for-all," Schossow told council members.

To ensure the ordinances take effect in time, the council suspended its rules, held a public hearing and then adopted the ordinances on two 6-0 votes. Councilman Roy Christensen wasn't at Monday's meeting.

"Anything we can do to help businesses, I think this is worth this experiment," Councilwoman Sändra Washington said. 

Council members would control what special permits are granted after holding public hearings at their regular meetings, and the City Clerk can revoke a permit if a coronavirus outbreak or late-breaking concerns emerge.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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Local government reporter

Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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