Forest Park Police Chief Kenneth Gross filed a complaint asking Mayor Rory Hoskins, who also serves as the village’s liquor commissioner, not to renew Forest Park Tap Room’s liquor license.
Since it opened on Oct. 23, 2020, inside the former Healy’s Westside space at 7321 Madison St., the bar has faced multiple complaints about loud music, fights and violating COVID-19 mitigation limits in place at the time. Those alleged actions resulted in multiple liquor license suspensions and an attempt to have its liquor license revoked. In his complaints, Gross wrote that, in addition to those issues, the bar owners lied on their initial Forest Park liquor license application. Specifically, the complaint said owners were not forthcoming about liquor license violations at a bar they own in Berwyn or about one of the co-owner’s arrest records.
An initial hearing on the matter was held May 2 and will reconvene on May 11 at 11 a.m. at the Forest Park Village Hall.
The Tap Room is co-owned by brothers Lance and Hansel Law, who have also owned Berwyn Tap Room, 6330 16th St., since 2019. The bar has had its Forest Park liquor license suspended three times since its opening – most recently March 4 through 11 – due to Tap Room’s alleged failure to control crowds and prevent fights, as well as violating COVID-19 related capacity restrictions. In August 2021, Hoskins revoked the Tap Room’s liquor license after ruling the bar had stayed open after hours. But in January, the Illinois State Liquor Control Commission reversed the village’s license revocation, ruling there was no evidence that the bar was selling liquor after hours.
In his complaint, Gross described every single incident that led to liquor license suspensions in detail, adding that they’ve been cited 21 times, five of which happened this year. He also alleged that the brothers lied to the village on several occasions. While both brothers indicated in the original liquor license application that they were never “arrested for a crime related to decency and/or morality,” a routine background check revealed that Hansel Law was arrested for domestic battery in 2019. The case against him was dismissed after his wife “did not cooperate” with the legal proceedings. At the time, Law said that he forgot about it because nothing came out it.
Gross also wrote that, on March 11, 2021, the brothers met with several village officials, including then-Police Chief Thomas Aftanas, to discuss police calls and possible violations of COVID-19 capacity limits in force at the time. While the brothers indicated that they never had any issues at Berwyn Tap Room, he noted that a subsequent Forest Park Review investigation uncovered numerous police calls and a liquor license suspension to prove otherwise.
“The licensees have demonstrated a total disregard for the business community and its neighbors, both businesses and residents alike,” Gross wrote at the conclusion of the complaint. “The licensees are not fit individuals that should be granted the privilege of renewing their Class A-1 license.”
The complaint was dated April 27. According to a police report prepared by Gross, one of the owners happened to be in the village hall on April 29 for “reasons unknown,” and the chief used that opportunity to serve it.
The Review was unable to reach the owners by deadline.