Story updated Sept. 1
Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins revoked the liquor license of the Forest Park Tap Room, 7321 Madison St., Aug. 26 based on an alleged incident on July 30 of serving alcohol after hours. The revocation though is based, he said, on an ongoing series of local ordinance violations at the bar.
Hoskins is also considering suspending the liquor license for Pioneer Tap, 7445 Randolph St.
Hoskins, who serves as the village liquor commissioner, said he revoked the Tap Room’s liquor license because this was the third time it came before the liquor commission in the past year. Tap Room previously had its liquor license suspended on April 3 and June 9 due to multiple violations of local ordinances, with the previous suspension imposed because it stayed open past closing hours. On July 31, it was charged with allegedly staying open past closing again – which, Hoskins said, was the last straw.
The Aug. 26 hearing was also originally supposed to address a complaint against Pioneer Tap over a July 30 incident, when a fight inside the bar allegedly escalated into an attempt to run a person over with a car, which resulted in a car crash. That hearing was postponed, with Hoskins saying the new hearing date hasn’t been scheduled as of Aug. 26. He declined to comment on the incident.
On July 31, Forest Park police cited the Tap Room for allegedly having the bar open over an hour past closing time. Under the village’s liquor regulations in force at the time, bars had to close by 11 p.m., and all patrons had to be out of the bar. According to the police report, an officer on patrol on Madison Street saw “4-5” patrons eating at the table “adjacent to the bar” and several patrons standing in the middle of the bar at 12:02 a.m. Bar co-owner Hansel Law told the officer that all patrons were bar employees, but the report notes that none of the employees were working that day. An administrative hearing was scheduled for Sept. 8 at 5 p.m.
Tap Room previously had its liquor license suspended on June 19 for 10 days for staying open past closing hours, and on April 3 for nine days due to what the village described as multiple ordinance violations over the preceding 12 months, including open alcohol, theft, excessive noise, patrons in the bar after hours, and other violations of local ordinances.
Hoskins said that, while the July 31 incident contributed to his decision, “the reason why the license was revoked was due to repeated violations,” citing the previous suspensions.
Tap Room’s owners didn’t respond to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Pioneer Tap was featured in a July 30 incident when Forest Park police officers were dispatched to the scene near Randolph and Circle at about 10:30 p.m. to respond to a crash involving two vehicles after which one of the drivers allegedly pulled out a gun. Witnesses told police a 2008 Acura accelerated at high speed out of the parking lot of nearby Submarine Tender and appeared intent on striking a man walking in the street. The Acura missed the pedestrian but crashed into a 2005 Honda Accord, which was westbound on Randolph Street.
The driver of the Acura, who was wearing a white shirt, then reportedly exited the vehicle, displayed a handgun and then ran away north on Brown Avenue. The man matching the description of the Acura driver was involved in a fight at Pioneer Tap at 10:20 p.m.
In his complaint, acting Forest Park Police Chief Kenneth Gross alleged that Pioneer Tap violated Section 3-3-13B of the Forest Park Municipal Code, which requires liquor license holders to “employ sufficient agents or employees on the premises in order to maintain the peace” and requires the bar to “immediately notify the police department” if an agent or employee observes “any type of criminal activity or fighting.” The municipal code states that violations of the section are grounds for liquor license suspension or termination, and/or fines. Hoskins has the discretion to decide on the exact penalty.
Hoskins declined to comment on the matter, saying it was an ongoing case.