BARS CITED FOR OUTSIDE DRINKING
After receiving two liquor violations and a warning from police officers this summer, Quincy Bar & Grill owner Adelle Bonatti-Lloyd is worried the city will yank the bar’s liquor license. The bar, at 609 Main St., was cited for the violations when police officers discovered patrons who left the facility were carrying open containers of alcohol.
While other bars in Grand Junction’s core also received tickets, Quincy’s and the former Corral Bar, 539 Colorado Ave., which is now under new ownership and called The Snowflake Bar & Grill, were cited the most this summer: two tickets and a warning.
At this time, a meeting has not been scheduled between the city’s liquor licensing board and Quincy’s owners to determine whether any sanctions will be imposed. Meanwhile, Bonatti-Lloyd is fretting because the bar’s liquor license is up for renewal next month.
“The one thing I’m concerned about is the employees,” she said of a potential closure for any amount of time. “Like lots of people, they live paycheck to paycheck. They’ve got to eat and pay the rent.”
Bonatti-Lloyd said she feels police are just doing their job in enforcing liquor codes, but other city groups put pressure on police to more heavily patrol Grand Junction’s downtown core this summer.
A bartender at Quincy’s, who only gave his first name as “Bud,” said Grand Junction police officers, dubbed the Impact Team, patrolled the downtown on bikes and would camp out near Quincy’s just to look for problems.
“We’ve worked really hard at eliminating the bad seeds,” he said. “It just seems no matter what we do, (police) try to find something to get us.”
According to City Clerk Stephanie Tuin, she has never seen an example of the city revoking a restaurant or bar’s liquor license, and even a liquor license suspension is rare.
“We’re not out to mess up their business, we’re just out for compliance,” she said. “Our goal is not to shut them down, it’s protecting the public from what could affect them adversely.”
Last year, the city suspended two liquor licenses, barring the C&F Food Stores at 596 25 Road and 2847 North Ave. from selling 3.2 percent alcohol.
After a restaurant or bar receives a ticket, possible sanctions include a fine, suspension of a liquor license, more liquor enforcement training for employees, or some sort of plan agreed upon by both parties to remedy the situation, Tuin said.
Decisions about the city’s 155 restaurants and bars that serve alcohol are made at twice-monthly public meetings. At the meetings, either a Grand Junction Police Department officer or police service technician Lisa Maestas, who is in charge of liquor enforcement, provides a record of all service calls to a location and presents a recommendation to a hearing officer. Attorney Michael Grattan works on behalf of the city, acting as a judge to rule on any matter.
This summer, Rockslide Brewery, 401 Main St., and Weaver’s Tavern, 103 N. First St., each received one warning. Boomers, at 436 Main St., received a ticket.
Police spokeswoman Kate Porras denied that officers specifically targeted any one bar over another. The goal of the Impact Team was to focus on the downtown area, she said.
“It wasn’t a targeted effort at one particular establishment,” she said. “Part of the Impact Team’s job was to work with every liquor establishment on ‘enforcement to make sure that everyone was obeying the law.”
Bonatti-Lloyd, who has owned the Quincy Bar & Grill for about a year with her husband, William, said they overhauled security by adding more employees to check identification. They also cleaned up the food preparation area, and workers pressure-wash the sidewalk twice a week.
Recent approval from the city to fence in the bar’s alley entrance will provide a patio for smoking and should decrease the problem of minors trying to sneak inside, she said. Employees are drug-tested, and drinking alcohol while working is grounds for dismissal, she said.