by Eric Hagen
As people welcomed a New Year, Pov’s Sports Bar in Andover was celebrating the final days of being in business.
For the past 17 years, Pov’s Sports Bar has been a fixture on Bunker Lake Boulevard in Andover. It was around before the junk yards were redeveloped into the commercial shopping area that exists today. After the last evening of business on Dec. 31 going into Jan. 1, Pov’s closed its doors for good.
“It’s been exciting,” owner Brad Povlitzki said. “I’ve got so many people from all over the state that have been here… The ball fields really brought in people from everywhere.”
There have been rumors floating around the community about what will replace Pov’s when it is gone.
City Administrator Jim Dickinson only said, “The city of Andover has been approached by and is currently working with a consultant on the redevelopment of the Pov’s site.”
Pov’s history at a glance
Pov’s opened for business on Dec. 28, 1994, which was Povlitzki’s 29th birthday. He actually planned to have the official opening on New Year’s Eve, but wanted to do a soft opening on Dec. 28 to see how well the business ran. More and more people started showing up, so he stayed open.
This was not Povlitzki’s first time running a business. His parents Richard and Marlene opened Povlitzki’s on 65 in Spring Lake Park in the early 1980s. The city of Spring Lake Park used to run two bars that were simply called Bar No. 1 and Bar No. 2. They sold Bar No. 1 to the Povlitzki family and Bar No. 2 to the owner of Monte’s Sports Bar and Grill. Both establishments are still in business.
Around the time he was 24 years old, Povlitzki began working at his parent’s business in Spring Lake Park as a bartender and cook. Two years later, he agreed to become one of the business managers along with his brother Rich, who is still in the bar business as the owner of Prime Time Bar in Burnsville.
Three years later, Brad Povlitzki opened up Pov’s Sports Bar in Andover. He chose Andover in 1994 because he knew the area was going to be redeveloped. He tried to purchase one of the junk yards, but the owner was unwilling to sell. He found a vacant parcel of about 30 acres, including wetlands, and built the bar along with the ball fields and volleyball court area on 13 acres.
About six months after he opened, he began hosting softball tournaments. Povlitzki said Povlitzki’s on 65 rented city ball fields for tournaments and this drew in a lot of people, so he wanted the new Andover business to be able to have its own field.
Most teams have come from the Twin Cities, but as word of his establishment spread, more came from outside Minnesota. There were teams from Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. A team from Michigan came one time. Another team came all the way from Canada.
Povlitzki said the Internet played a huge role in marketing his site to these outstate ball clubs, but the elevated patio overlooking the field was a unique aspect of the field that he feels attracted a lot of people.
During the spring, summer and into early fall, Pov’s hosted a softball tournament every weekend. He usually had between 10 and 16 teams of men that were generally between the ages of 21 and 30. He advertised with the state softball tournament organizers, who put together brochures that were mailed to different teams throughout the state with information on different softball facilities.
Povlitzki would advertise his ball field availability until around Halloween, but he sometimes hosted tournaments into November if the weather cooperated. Because of the lack of snow and milder weather, 2011 was one of the years when tournaments went into November.
Another goal Povlitzki had when he opened the business in Andover was to have bands playing every weekend to draw more customers. He had concerts every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Most were local acts, but he was able to bring in nationally known acts such as Bret Michaels, Keith Anderson and Warrant.
For the last few years, Pov’s also was able to have outdoor concerts on two evenings over one weekend. The Andover City Council granted the liquor license extensions to allow Pov’s to serve liquor on its ball field. The council had approved the same type of liquor license extensions to allow for outdoor concerts at a few different establishments such as Beef O’ Brady’s and Tanners Station.
The concerts throughout the year drew a lot of people. Sometimes there was trouble when a lot of people were gathered.
At the Anoka County Union’s request, the sheriff’s office provided some information on staff time spent at Pov’s. According to Cmdr. Kevin Halweg, deputies were not required to sit in Pov’s parking lot at bar close time, but they were asked to be on alert around 2 a.m. if they were in the area.
One of the most recent incidents where many police were needed occurred on Sept. 16, 2011 when a fight involving about 75 people broke out in Pov’s parking lot. Halweg said the Coon Rapids Police Department had to assist in controlling the crowd and making arrests.
According to Halweg, the security staff would assist the sheriff’s office as much as possible whether it was helping to break up a fight or detaining someone until police arrived.
Povlitzki said he usually had two to 10 people working security depending on how big of a crowd he anticipated. He had security on concert nights since he opened the establishment.
A more recent development has been technology leading to escalated situations. Povlitzki said that any time someone got into an argument, it seemed as though people started calling friends to come to the bar to increase their numbers and this created more problems.
“We were very serious about trying to keep it controlled and make it a comfortable environment for everyone,” Povlitzki said.
Andover Mayor Mike Gamache said because of the bands and the drink specials, Pov’s drew a younger clientele, which he said caused more problems than other neighboring establishments experienced.
Councilmember Julie Trude has heard complaints about the business from residents, especially women who were offended by the bikini and wet T-shirt contests that Pov’s advertised on its sign along Bunker Lake Boulevard.
“In my mind, anyone who doesn’t oversell alcohol would be an improvement for people driving the roads in Andover,” Trude said.
Gamache said he is not broken up about Pov’s closing down. He feels the business had run its course, but he harbors no ill will toward Povlitzki himself.
“His business had been successful for a number of years,” Gamache said. “He had an opportunity and we wish him well.”
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org