Liquor license violations to close bar for 20 days total

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Main Street Bar will be shut down for a total of 20 days over the next four months for liquor license violations that include failing to control a September brawl that sent three people to the hospital for treatment.

The fight resulted in a 15-day suspension, said Peter Lobdell, alcohol control supervisor with the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. A separate incident in July, when Cape Girardeau police found people drinking at the bar past the legal closing time of 1:30 a.m., resulted in a five-day suspension.

The suspension was initially set to run 20 consecutive days, Lobdell said. But at the request of the attorney for bar owner Rick Werner, Lobdell said he allowed the bar to take the suspension on five weekends over the next four months.

In the incident that sparked the 15-day suspension, Cape Girardeau police were called to the bar at 12:30 a.m. Sept. 7 when a quarrel between two women resulted in one woman being hit in the face with a beer bottle. A half-hour later, police returned on reports that shots had been fired.

An officer arrived to find numerous people engaged in a brawl, police told the Southeast Missourian at the time, and officers had to push their way through crowds fleeing the bar. They found a bar with overturned chairs, tables and broken glass strewn about. Three people were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Two men were given summons for disorderly conduct as a result of the fight, police spokesman Sgt. Barry Hovis said Monday.

The bar is regularly used by college fraternities and sororities for private parties.

Werner's attorney told the liquor control division that the brawl took place when rival gangs, attending a private party, started fighting when a particular song was played by the announcer, Lobdell said.

Through his attorney, Werner has promised to restrict future parties to students with identification, Lobdell said.

The Main Street Bar has had violations in the past, Lobdell said. "I don't think that this one has a record of habitual violation but it has previous violations. The suspension was lengthy due to the nature of the violations, especially with police complaints that there were too many police calls to that establishment."

The suspension dates, and length of suspensions, are:

* Feb. 9 for four days

* March 8 for five days

* March 22 for four days

* May 10 for five days

* May 31 for two days.

The days counted include Sundays, despite Main Street having no Sunday sales license, and Mondays, although the bar is not usually open that night, Lobdell said.

Werner did not return a call seeking comment.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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