The fate of Pioneer Tap’s liquor license remains undecided as the Forest Park liquor commission hearing on its potential suspension has once again been postponed.
The charges stem from a July 30 incident at the bar at 7445 Randolph St. Police reports indicate that a man allegedly tried to strike a pedestrian with his car after getting into a fight at the bar 10 minutes earlier. Acting Forest Park Police Chief Ken Gross accused the bar of not having enough security to keep the fight from happening and not notifying the police about the fight immediately, both of which are grounds for suspension or revocation of a liquor license under the village code.
It is up to Mayor Rory Hoskins, in his capacity as liquor commissioner, to decide what penalty, if any, to impose. While the hearing has been postponed three times, another hearing is now scheduled for Oct. 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Marty Sorice, co-owner of Pioneer Tap and several other Forest Park bars, replied to an email from the Review and wrote, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on a pending legal proceeding.”
According to the police report on the incident, 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 the crash 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 allegedly involved in a fight at Pioneer Tap at 10:20 p.m.
In his complaint, Gross cited 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 was originally supposed to hear the case during the liquor commission’s Aug. 26 hearing, but it got postponed. It was postponed again Sept. 15, then once more Oct. 6. The mayor said the Oct. 6 hearing was postponed because an officer who responded to the incident couldn’t attend.
During a recent visit to Pioneer Tap, the Review saw “house rules” posted on the bar door and several windows saying that no one under 30 would be allowed inside after 7 p.m. or “during parties,” and banning customers who wore do-rags, large T-shirts and other clothing styles commonly associated with gang members after 9 p.m.
A manager at the bar, who declined to give his name, declined to speak on the matter, saying only that they didn’t believe they’ve done anything wrong.
The bar is one of the several Forest Park bars co-owned by Sorice. He also owns Blueberry Hill, 427 Des Plaines Ave.; The Circle Inn, 7300 Circle Ave.; the Shortstop Lounge, 7425 Madison St. and Carole’s Next Best Thing, 7307 Roosevelt Rd.