Looking Back at When it Was Legal to Drink Alcohol at 18 in Minnesota
It seems like yesterday but in reality it was almost 50 years ago. Minnesota lowered the legal drinking age to 18 back in 1973 and the big Minnesota party was underway.
From what I understand, the big push to lower the legal age was that you could be sent to fight in Vietnam at 18 but weren't allowed to legally drink. Good argument and all of a sudden it was legal to consume alcoholic beverages at the tender age of 18 in Minnesota.
It's not like a good percentage of 18,19. & 20 years olds weren't already throwing back a few cocktails on the weekend but now it was LEGAL.
At the time, I was living in Fargo, right across the river from Moorhead, Minnesota. So, you can probably guess where we would end up partying when the mood struck (just about every night).
That first night of the new drinking age, the whole town of Moorhead was one big party. I remember checking out this little dive bar in Moorhead that first night. Mick's Office, which still happens to be standing, was a little bar by the tracks in Moorhead that pretty much served well seasoned drinkers.
I don't think there were ever more that 10 or 15 patrons in Mick's office at a time before the age law changed. That first night of the new 18 year law, Mick's was wall to wall with virgin bar goers and the owner was dancing on the bar as the cash registers were singing.
A few years later, Minnesota upped the legal age to 19. I'm not sure about the reasoning there. Some said it was because a lot of 18 year olds were still in high school.
Then in 1986, due to diligent lobbying by a new group called Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, the drinking age was boosted back up to 21 years of age.
It was fun while it lasted and thinking back, the whole 18 thing probably wasn't such a great idea.