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St. Charles bar gets 3-day liquor license suspension

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

ST. CHARLES – A downtown St. Charles bar on Monday got a three-day liquor license suspension, not for liquor violations – it must pay fines and costs for those – but for treatment of police officers.

The House Pub, 16 S. Riverside Ave., must pay $500 in fines and $500 in costs for permitting an intoxicated person to loiter on the premises and serving liquor to an intoxicated person.

The fine was reduced from $1,500, but Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Don DeWitte would not negotiate on the three-day suspension set for 7 a.m. April 22 to 2 a.m. April 25. That, he said, was solely based on the treatment of police, which he described as belligerent and aggressive.

“It will not be tolerated,” DeWitte said.

According to a St. Charles police report, the House Pub on March 15 granted entry to a visibly intoxicated man – police reported seeing him stumble outside – and served him alcohol.

The officer followed the man inside and was later approached by bar ownership, who reportedly argued with police, yelled at police – often with obscenities – and ordered police to leave.

Tom Wojcik and Stephen Erd of the House Pub attended Monday’s hearing.

Wojcik said they try to keep a clean record, welcome police presence and work with the police chief and mayor.

“We would never put our bar in jeopardy,” Wojcik said. “Ever.”

In this case, he disputed the customer was drunk, questioned the timeline of events and asked why didn’t police stop the man on the street if he was so inebriated.

“I don’t think the police officers were setting you up to try to catch you,” DeWitte said.

This was the third downtown bar in recent weeks to be summoned before the St. Charles Liquor Commission. Last month, Alibi Bar and Grill, 12 N. Third St., had its liquor license suspended for three days and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine. Also in March, the Beehive Tavern and Grille, 204 W. Main St., received a $2,000 fine.

The City Council has been scrutinizing the downtown bar scene since DeWitte asked aldermen in August to change the closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m. in an effort to curb over-serving.

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