St. Clair Mayor Ron Blum recommended to the board of aldermen that it consider pulling the liquor license granted to a local bar if allegations made about the business are true and if it and its patrons continue to cause the alleged problems.
A married couple who live near the Double Bull bar in downtown St. Clair voiced their concern as well as the concern of a local business owner about the establishment to the aldermen during their most recent meeting earlier this month.
Tim and Cathy Hamilton, who live in an upstairs apartment along South Main Street, appeared before the board on June 18 and read a letter drafted by Chris Short, owner of Lewis Cafe. The restaurant, 145 S. Main St., is next door to the bar at 175 S. Main St.
Short’s letter stated that there has been an increase in litter, including beer bottles, in front of and around the bar in recent weeks. The letter also stated that Short has met with the owner of the bar, Karen Wideman of Pacific, to discuss the situation, but to no avail.
Tim Hamilton said he also observes Double Bull bar customers drag racing along Main Street as well as vehicles doing “burn-outs.”
“And there is constant brawling and street fighting,” he said. “There are some pretty serious affairs there.”
Cathy Hamilton agreed.
“There are constant problems,” she said. “It’s appalling.”
Early Sunday morning, June 10, St. Clair Police were dispatched to the bar and Lewis Cafe after a fight broke out that led to the injury to one of the establishment’s employees and property damage to the restaurant. A story about the incident appeared in the June 13 issue of The St. Clair Missourian.
Police Chief Bill Hammack told The Missourian last week that his department became aware of the incident at 12:17 a.m. that morning when officers were dispatched there in reference to a fight in progress. When officers arrived at the scene, they observed a crowd of about 50 individuals outside.
Once authorities defused the situation, it was learned that the fight had started inside the bar and moved to the street and parking area on the other side of Main Street, where it continued.
Hammack said that during the altercation, a bar “bouncer” said he was pushed through a front window of Lewis Cafe, shattering the glass. The police report stated that the 27-year-old man received a laceration on his leg and was transported by St. Clair Ambulance to Mercy Hospital Washington.
Hammack said numerous individuals involved in the melee already had left the scene before officers arrived. It was not known how many individuals were involved in the fight.
The chief said surveillance footage from the bar and from nearby businesses will be viewed to help determine what charges may be filed.
“I’m usually not one to call police,” Tim Hamilton said at the board meeting. “But it’s time to bring these to your attention and take affirmative action.”
During the June 18 meeting, Hammack said that Tim Hamilton was correct in saying that fights and other incidences are regular occurrences at the Double Bull as well as at Caddyshack Grill & Pub, 515 Hibbard St.
“We try to do patrols during (their) closing times,” Hammack said. “But between midnight and 2 a.m., we’re usually pretty busy.”
The chief said he will instruct his officers to patrol the area at that time whenever possible.
Blum asked Hammack if he has records and copies of reports regarding police calls to bars within the city limits. Hammack said he does, and that he also sends copies to the Missouri Tobacco and Alcohol Control office. Franklin County is in District 2, and its office is in Jefferson City.
The chief said the state office has the authority to pull a liquor license because of problems, and also stated the board of aldermen has the same ability.
Blum said he would like to see statistics and copies of police reports concerning city bars.
“That would give us a comparison,” he said.
Hammack said he could provide that information, but that the problems are “pretty limited to those two (Double Bull and Caddyshack).”
One of the concerns raised about Caddyshack is that it conducts wet T-shirts contests for female patrons and the result is a crowd that gets too unruly on occasion.
The mayor said he would like the board of aldermen to recommend that the police chief visit the two establishments and give them a warning that if the alleged problems are true and if they continue, the city will consider rescinding the liquor licenses.
“I did warn them a year or so ago,” Hammack said of the Double Bull’s owner. “And the problems have continued.”
“Then the board will look at pulling their license,” Blum said.