It would appear that at least a few downtown St. Charles liquor license holders have taken to heart the City Council’s proposed crackdown on over serving alcohol and a proliferation of drunken brawls in recent months.
Saturday, one downtown bar owner told police he and another bar manager had received information from their customers that the Alibi, 12 N. 3rd St., was serving free drinks form commercial purposes and was even advertising it, both of which are prohibited by the state liquor code, according to police.
Police issued one citation on each of the charges to Richard A. Simpson Jr., 33, of Downers Grove, who told officers he was the holder of the Alibi’s liquor license.
According to a police report on the incident, officers were alerted to the free drinks by Jeremy Casiello, owner of Alley 64 Bar & Grill, 212 W. Main St. Police also spoke with Mike Davis, manager of Pub 222, 222 W. Main St. Both men told police they had learned of the activity from their own customers. Casiello told police that the City Council’s attention on downtown bars has prompted bar owners to take a more proactive approach to liquor violations.
The city’s Class B and Class C liquor license holders are allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. under St. Charles’ ordinance. But Mayor Donald DeWitte proposed cutting that back to 1 a.m after a spike in the number of drunken brawls, including at least one that resulted in an assault on a police officer, and an increase in the number of intoxicated person reports during the weekend of Aug. 3. DeWitte said during an Aug. 20 Government Operations Committee meeting that in the case of the street fights, officers had included in their reports that, in their opinions, the individuals involved were extremely intoxicated.
That latter point was another source of concern for DeWitte, who cited it as an indication that bars were failing to take the proper precautions to ensure patrons were not being over-served alcoholic beverages.
The City Council was prepared to cut bar hours to 1 a.m. when it met Sept. 4, but aldermen were met with a plea from a Naperville attorney representing 11 establishments for an opportunity to sit down and talk about what actions the bars and restaurants need to take to reduce the problem and maintain the 2 a.m. closing time.
The council tabled the matter until Sept. 24, and talks were to be scheduled between the attorney, Russ Whitaker, and DeWitte, along with City Administrator Brian Townsend and Police Chief Jim Lamkin.
Two days later, police released reports from the Labor Day weekend that showed another spike in violence and drunkenness — including one incident in which an officer protected himself with a Taser — which was expected to add heat to the debate over bar hours.
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