At a June 29 hearing before liquor commissioner Mayor Rory Hoskins, Forest Park Tap Room was sentenced to a 10-day license suspension, with three days already served, and a fine of $3,000. They also stipulated to three charges, with eight others being dismissed. This is the second suspension for the bar and its owners Lance and Hansel Law.
At the hearing, a recess was announced to allow the Laws’ attorney, Mark Johnson, to work out a settlement with village prosecutor Sharon O’Shea. Though Hoskins said it would be a 20-minute recess, it lasted almost an hour and a half. When the hearing was resumed, O’Shea presented the settlement agreement, and Hoskins, on advice of village attorney Tom Bastion, accepted.
In addition to the suspension and fine, the Laws stipulated to three charges: being open after hours; an employee allowing the bar to remain open after the notice of suspension was served; and consumption of alcoholic drinks on the premises after notice was served.
Eight other charges were dismissed, including noise, open alcohol on the street, patrons allegedly harassing another business owner, and a subject arrested for possessing a loaded handgun he said he was going to bring into Tap Room but left in his car because he knew he might be searched.
“Just for the record,” said O’Shea, “those are incidents that occurred off premises.”
Tap Room, 7321 Madison St., was served the notice of emergency suspension on Sunday, June 19, after staying open and serving customers past 11 p.m. the previous day, though local ordinance requires all A1 bars, including Tap Room, to be closed at that time.
Even after the emergency suspension was served to Tap Room, however, officers returned with some documents and found three customers inside drinking alcoholic drinks and a bartender also consuming alcohol.
On June 23, a brief hearing for Tap Room was held, during which Hoskins as liquor commissioner issued a continuation until June 29. Since Tap Room hadn’t been served the actual notice of complaint until that morning, the bar was allowed to reopen that evening. Thus, they had already served three days of their 10-day suspension when it was issued during the June 29 hearing.
This is Tap Room’s second suspension; previously, the bar was forced to close from April 3 to 12 and pay a $2,500 fine to the village.
The Laws own another bar, Berwyn Tap Room, which has also had its liquor license suspended at least once within the past year. A FOIA response from the village of Berwyn revealed that Berwyn Tap Room’s liquor license was suspended from May 7 until May 28.
Like Forest Park Tap Room, Berwyn Tap Room has been referenced in multiple police reports and has been issued several citations. Alleged issues over the past 10 months included in Berwyn police reports have included excessive noise; drinks served past allowable hours (though the owners claimed these were private events with employees); fights outside the bar or originating inside the bar; accusation from a woman of being pushed down several stairs by a security guard; a domestic battery; several issues of disorderly conduct, including two in which bar windows were broken, resulting in injuries to at least one person. In multiple police reports, reporting officers stated that the windows of the bar had been blacked out, making it difficult to see inside.
Last July, a group was allegedly escorted out of Berwyn Tap Room by security; then, in the middle of the street, a male suspect allegedly shot a gun. He had been in the bar earlier and left but was believed to be a friend of least one of the people escorted out of the bar. Later he told police that he was trying to protect a friend who was being accosted by the group from Berwyn Tap Room, so he took out his Glock 19 and “popped it in the air.” He admitted to being a member of the Insane Dragons gang.