Clybourne, Bar Louie face license suspension

By Patrick Wade

Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart announced the suspension of two campus bars’ liquor licenses on Wednesday.

The Clybourne, 706 S. Sixth St., and Bar Louie, 510 E. John St., were found to be in violation of their license agreements.

The Clybourne will serve a two-day suspension of its Class-A liquor license April 7-8 for serving alcohol to underage customers and announcing the presence of police officers to warn underage customers, said Paul Berg, assistant city manager and acting deputy liquor commissioner.

The Clybourne was also found to be in violation of the Happy Hour law. The law, among other details, stipulates that a bar cannot serve more than one drink at a time to an individual from 4-6 p.m.

Berg said police discovered The Clybourne’s violations on two separate dates, Jan. 31 and Feb. 24, during routine bar checks.

An additional two-day suspension will be waived for The Clybourne once additional staff training and installation of electronic equipment which documents patrons’ use of false identification is completed.

“It’s part of the campus atmosphere, you’ve got a lot of minors pursuing alcohol,” Schweighart said. He added that underage individuals seek out bars that are not “abiding by the rules.”

Bar Louie is currently serving an emergency seven-day suspension, which will end April 7, after it was found to be in violation of its restaurant license.

Under a restaurant license, no more than 40 percent of an establishment’s sales can come from alcohol. Berg said affidavits submitted by the bar to the city on a quarterly basis showed that over 40 percent of Bar Louie’s sales came from alcohol.

Berg added that Bar Louie now faces revocation of its restaurant license pending further review of their situation. A hearing will be conducted on April 16 after a certified audit of the bar’s sales is completed.

“They have an opportunity to present to us what steps they’ve taken to make sure they stay within their 60/40 (percent) split between food and alcohol sales,” Berg said.

Berg said bars like The Clybourne, for which alcohol is its main source of revenue, typically close during their liquor license suspensions.

Sometimes bars or restaurants that serve food, like Bar Louie, stay open while under a suspension.

Calls to The Clybourne Wednesday were left unanswered, and Bar Louie declined comment under terms of its corporate franchise agreement.

Berg said alcohol sales to underage individuals on campus is a struggle for the city.

“That’s why we do as much enforcement as we do,” Berg said. “It’s an ongoing problem.”