Minneapolis Rules on Bar Seating

The prohibition on indoor dining and alcohol consumption at bars and restaurants in the state of Minnesota was (partially) lifted on Monday, January 11th. On-Sale consumption is allowed indoors at 50% capacity, with tables spaced 6 feet apart with no more than 6 people at any table and groups of 2 seated at the bar separated by 6 feet. Except there is one city that does not allow bar any bar seating. Please see the ‘guidance’ issued by the Minneapolis department of Health.

Minneapolis bar seating guidance
As you are aware, on January 11, 2021, indoor dining has returned per Minnesota EO 21-01. Since Minneapolis Emergency Order 20-17 is still in effect, we have received many questions regarding the reopening and how seating in a bar area differs. We have put together a frequently asked question section to address bar counter service in the City of Minneapolis.


  • I don’t have servers. Can orders be placed at the bar counter?
    Yes. Orders may be placed at the bar counter. The order must be picked up and taken back to a table for consumption. Any queue for ordering must be managed to meet social distancing requirements and masking of customers. There is to be no seating or congregating at the bar counter.
  • My restaurant does not sell alcohol. Can I have customer seated at my counter?
    Yes. Minneapolis Emergency Order 20-17 only applies to establishments who sell alcohol. If you are a food only establishment with a food counter, customers may be seated there for service following the state guidelines of 2 per party with 6 feet between parties.
  • Is it allowed to have customers pick up their to go orders at my bar counter?
    Yes. Bar counters may be used as a takeout or pick up location. Any queue for ordering must be managed to meet social distancing requirements. There is to be no seating or congregating at the bar counter.
  • I have plexiglass partitions on my bar counter that separates staff from customers. Is seating allowed?
    No. Barriers, plexiglass or otherwise do not allow for bar counter seating. The Minnesota Department of Health has indicated in November 2020 and again in January 2021 that plexiglass is not allowed on the bar counter.
  • Can I pull a two top or other table to the bar and have seating at the table?
    Yes. If the table is perpendicular to the bar counter and the customers are seated like a booth, then it is allowed; however, food and/or beverages may not be delivered over the counter. Waitstaff must bring it around to the table or it can be picked up at a designated location.

For questions about configuring your bar area to be compliant, please contact your area Liquor License Inspector.

For more information, view complete guidance from the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota Industry Guidance.