Bar talk again will take center stage during part of the St. Clair Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday night as the city responds to citizen-based complaints about fighting and other issues occurring near at least one of the local establishments.
During the June 18 board meeting, Mayor Ron Blum told Police Chief Bill Hammack to review police reports relating to bars, taverns and other businesses that hold liquor licenses after residents complained about recent incidents near the Double Bull Bar, 175 S. Main St.
During that meeting, Blum recommended to the board of aldermen that it consider pulling the liquor license granted to the bar if allegations made about the business are true and if it and its patrons continue to cause the alleged problems.
The complaints were voiced by Lewis Cafe owner Chris Short and residents Tim and Cathy Hamilton, who live in an apartment along South Main Street near the Double Bull. Lewis Cafe is next door to the bar.
Many of the issues raised centered on fighting, litter, drag racing and vehicle “burn-outs” near the establishment.
“There are constant problems,” Cathy Hamilton said on June 18. “It’s appalling.”
After receiving Blum’s request to review and supply police reports, Hammack has given the city information on six establishments in St. Clair that possess liquor licenses — Double Bull, Caddyshack Grill & Pub, Gibby’s, Pizza Shack, Becky’s Depot and Jerrons.
Twenty-four reports originated from the Double Bull since February of 2010, 25 from Caddyshack since it opened in October 2010, one from Gibby’s (2011), one from Pizza Shack (2010), five from Becky’s Depot (2010-2011) and none from Jerrons.
The police reports range from dealing with fights and peace disturbances to individuals refusing to leave the establishments.
During the June 18 meeting, Hammack said that problems at local liquor-serving establishments are “pretty limited” to the Double Bull and Caddyshack.
The chief said the state has the authority to pull a liquor license because of problems, and also stated the board of aldermen has the same ability.
Owners of both bars recently have contacted The Missourian after the story about the alleged problems at their establishments appeared in the June 27 edition.
Karen Wideman, owner of the Double Bull, and Bruce Carver, owner of Caddyshack, both told The Missourian on Thursday that neither one of their businesses are a cause for concern.
Wideman said St. Clair police have cleared her and her bar of any wrongdoing from a fight that occurred outside her establishment on June 10 that led to a broken front window at Lewis Cafe.
When shown the original police report concerning the incident, Wideman said that several items in it “are not true.”
Hammack could not be reached to confirm that.
Wideman also said that once individuals leave her bar, they are not her responsibility.
Carver told The Missourian that Caddyshack, 515 Hibbard St., is a “food establishment with a bar,” and it has “become one of the more popular night spots in Franklin County.
“There is a huge difference between an establishment that only sells alcohol in a nightclub setting and a grill and pub that caters to everyone, including families as well as sales of alcohol in a night time setting,” Carver said. “Since the beginning, we have enforced a strict dress code as well as enforced higher standards of behavior. Our belief is that if you don’t care how you look, you won’t care how you act.
“We have always prided ourselves by making every effort to keep our location as safe and clean as possible.”
Carver went on to say that any incident that ever has occurred at Caddyshack “has occurred in the street outside of our establishment,” adding that “it is completely unfair to blame a business for incidents that occur outside of the business where we have no control.
“It is also my belief that the onus of behavior be put on the people who start or are involved in these incidents and not the business itself.”
Carver also said he plans to talk to both Blum and Hammack about his business. He said he would share comments with them similar to those he shared with The Missourian.
In other scheduled business on Monday, the aldermen will consider an ordinance authorizing Blum to sign a contract with Lamke Trench & Excavating in the amount of $1.425 million for improvements to Springfield Road.The project will rebuild the west side of the street from Highway 30 to the city limits and provide a sidewalk and new water and sewer lines. On East Springfield, the road will be improved to South Main Street.
Also, the city will look at its 2012 budget as the fiscal year reaches its halfway point.
The board of aldermen meet at 7 p.m. in city hall. The public is invited to attend.