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We Need to Talk About the Strib’s Dive Bar List

Plus MN Freedom Fund rails against cash bail, a new THC-friendly vegan spot opens this spring, and catching up with Mayor Melvin Carter in today's Flyover.

Jay Boller|

Coney pizzas!

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Our Quibbles With the Strib's Dive Bar List

We've gotta give it up to the Strib's Joy Summers: This list of the Twin Cities' best dive bars is... pretty good! It's not perfect. Merlin's Rest isn't a dive bar (and the Schooner is right there!); Meteor isn't a dive bar (even if it is an absolute gem, an industry haunt does not a dive make); as for Brunson's, look, we love it too, but it refers to itself as a "gastropub." You sub in Jimmy's, maybe the 331, possibly Cedar Inn, absolutely Palmer's, and you've got a damn near perfect collection of real-deal dives on your hands. Otherwise, we've surprisingly little issue with the list. In fact, many of these wonderful dives appeared on Racket's list of the most underrated bars in the Twin Cities last year. Big love to Tapper's, Shaw's, Grumpy's, The Spot, and the rest of 'em.

Minnesota Freedom Fund Hopes to Make Itself Obsolete

After MPD cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd in early 2020, the Minnesota Freedom Fund was flooded with $30M+ in donations to help bail folks out of jail. The group has since freed around 2,000 people via $24 million and, as we learn today from Minnesota Reformer's Deena Winter, it recently launched a nonprofit political arm called the Minnesota Freedom Fund Action. The goal? To end the wildly exploitive system of cash bail, thus removing the need for a Minnesota Freedom Fund all together. “We look forward to MFF Action putting the Minnesota Freedom Fund out of business, but make no mistake: The Minnesota Freedom Fund will only close our doors when the cash bail system and the harms of immigration detention have been eliminated,” MFF's co-executive director, Elizer Darris, tells the Reformer.

Minnesota Freedom Fund has caught shit—some deserved, some from bad-faith reactionaries—most notably for spending $350,000 to release twice-convicted rapist Christopher Boswell. (Darris has stated that, in hindsight, they wouldn't make that move today.) Speaking of bad-faith reactionaries, Winter recaps recent GOP legislation aimed at eliminating nonprofits fighting against cash bail in Minnesota. “If wealth-based jailing was the answer to public safety, the United States—one of only two countries in the world that continues to use a money bail system—would be the safest place on Earth,” MFF's Angela Myers tells the Reformer. “But the U.S. is not.” The other, per Politifact, is the Philippines.

A Vegan THC Restaurant is Coming to the Common Roots Space

When Common Roots closed abruptly last month, it left behind some prime real estate in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood. But the space won’t stay empty for long, as a plant-based, THC-friendly restaurant named Juniper plans to open up this spring. The new project is being helmed by plant-forward entrepreneurs Michelle Courtright (Fig & Farro) and Heather Klein (Root to Rise), and is set to open sometime this spring. Juniper will offer vegan eats, a non-alcoholic bar, a garden (Common Roots’ community garden is presumably still there), and an herb-filled patio. So, where does the weed come in? "Right now we are following the letter of the law to have all THC packaged in child-proof tinctures, and [diners] can add them to drinks and coursed dinners,” Courtright explains in this Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine scoop. The bar will also have a variety of THC-infused bevvies, including root beer, tea, and kava. Sounds like fun!  

Let’s Talk About That Other Mayor for a Change

MinnPost’s Kyle Stokes sat down with St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter for a talk that primarily centers on the city’s guaranteed income pilot program. In his answers, Carter focuses on the essentials (“Equity is not about general feelings of fairness; it’s about money”) while acknowledging that the point of citywide programs is to demonstrate the effectiveness of cash distribution fighting poverty so that state and federal governments might then carry the ball forward. He also outlines a form of community engagement he calls “the St. Paul way” that seems reasonable and effective. While there’s not exactly a lot of pushback (no discussion of Carter’s position on rent control in St. Paul, or even a “your critics might say” question), it’s nice to hear a Twin Cities elected official lay out progressive policy clearly and directly. Worth a read.

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