Celebrating Sundays with Beer is a Riot

11 Feb


In 1855, a throng of German and Irish immigrants stormed downtown Chicago to protest the reforms of Nativist Mayor Levi Boone, great-nephew to Daniel Boone. Police and militia opened fire to quell the rioters. One man died. Sixty were arrested. While the city successfully dispersed the protesters, the event galvanized the immigrant voters, and a high turnout of Irish and German voters defeated their Nativist opponents in the elections of 1856.

Celebrating Sundays with a Beer is a Riot - Ian Skemp

What could cause the immigrant population of Chicago to take to the streets? Was it poor factory conditions, long hours, and low wages? No. He had the audacity to enforce an old ordinance that taverns be closed on Sunday. Not only that, the fiend raised the price of an annual liquor license from $50 to $300. Immigrants worked long hours from Monday to Saturday, and Sunday was the only day they had to socialize. After Sunday Mass, the local tavern was the place where they spent their one day off. The Mayor was clearly targeting the German and Irish populations, as his attitude towards immigrants was no secret. The influx of Irish and German immigrants during the early 19th century alarmed native-born Americans. These newcomers came from different cultures. They spoke differently and to make matters worse, many of them were Catholic. In response, anti-immigrant groups sprang up across the nation, and laws targeting German and Irish-Americans were common.

Fortunately, we have no need to riot over such matters today. While liquor stores may be closed on Sundays in the State of Minnesota, our bars are open to all legal drinkers. Not far from the Cathedral of St. Paul, The Happy Gnome is open 10 AM-midnight on Sundays, and boasts one of the Twin Cities’ best beer menus. If you want some good food to go with your brew, the Blue Door Pub offers pints and tater tots for 2$ from 2-5 PM. If you are of the cocktail persuasion, Amore Victoria in Uptown is home to one of the premier mixologists in Minneapolis. I could go on, but if you want to find a happy hour close to you, thriftyhipster.com is the place to look. As for me, I prefer to stay in on Sundays, so I make sure to do my shopping on Saturday. The Liquor Barrel on West 7th and St. Clair lets you build your own six-pack, allowing you to test the waters without committing to a particular brand. Not too long ago, I tried Deschutes’ Obsidian Stout for the first time, and its rich roasted flavor is perfect for these long winters. Of course, you can always brew your own beer, and Northern Brewer is the place to go for all your supplies.

Every Sunday is a feast day, and should be treated as such. Celebrate at Mass in the morning, and then enjoy the rest of your day knowing that no matter what you have to do on Monday, you have God’s Day to relax with your family and friends. Just remember to get home safely.

-Ian Skemp

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