LORAIN — A couple of bars are still awaiting the Ohio Division of Liquor Control’s decision on whether or not they can keep their liquor licenses.
City officials, Edmond McCall — owner of Bootlegger’s Den, 538 Broadway — and William Velez — owner of Luna Del Mar, 2156 E. 28th St. — attended the liquor license renewal hearing Jan. 9 to discuss the matter. The meeting took place at Lorain County Department of Job and Family Services on North Ridge Road in Elyria.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer said City Council voted to contest the liquor permit renewals for both bars and have their licenses revoked months prior. Lt. Ed Super said Bootlegger’s Den was a very dangerous location, and he was adamant about the bar not deserving its license.
“Bootlegger’s is run by criminals, it’s a den of criminals, and the city is better off for having that business closed,” Super said.
Lee Kimbro, a bartender at the Bootlegger’s Den and sister of McCall, disagrees about the danger Bootlegger’s is accused of having.
“Nothing never physically happened in here, it happens beyond our gates, and that’s pretty much the police’s problem. If we don’t see it, we can’t help it,” she said.
If anything happens within their building, Kimbro said the staff would make sure it’s prevented from escalating, but it can’t always be stopped by them alone.
“I don’t have a badge, I’m just a bartender,” she said.
Luna Del Mar, Ritenauer said, has a lot of violence on its property, including gun violence. The most recent gun-related incident took place Jan. 6 when two men were shot outside Luna Bar on East 28th Street. Luna Del Mar owner Velez was unavailable to comment.
At the hearing, Angel Arroyo, D-6th Ward said he was adamant about the potential danger Luna Del Mar attracts in his ward.
“What I said was, ‘This is a bar in our community that’s been unsafe. It’s gone from a nuisance to dangerous establishment in our community’” he said.
The Division of Liquor Control has not announced its decision, but Ritenauer said the case seems to be leaning toward the city’s favor.
“We just feel that the evidence and the nuisance activity and violent activity is present at both of those establishments that — in our opinion — necessitates the revocation of the liquor permit, so we’re hopeful the state points to our view on that,” he said.
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