MARIETTA - Members of Marietta City Council's planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee agreed Monday to ask the Ohio Liquor Control Board not to renew the Locker Room Sports Bar's liquor license which will expire in February.
"Everyone knows this is the one bar you don't want to go to," Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite told the committee members.
Waite and police Chief Brett McKitrick requested the action, noting the police department has received 966 calls for service at the Greene Street bar over the last five years, which translates to a call being anticipated from the sports bar every 1.8 days.
A list of arrests made in the Locker Room in the last five years includes 21 assaults, two assaults on police officers, 57 disorderly conduct arrests, two concealed weapons arrests, two arrests for possession of weapons while intoxicated, and 49 arrests for underage consumption of alcohol.
"Those 49 underage consumption arrests in five years should be of utmost concern," said Councilman Harley Noland, D-at large.
Waite said the state liquor control board has been contacted in the past about such violations, but the bar still maintains its liquor license.
Marietta Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp said other arrests have been related to possession of marijuana, cocaine, prescription narcotics, criminal trespass, fighting and resisting arrest.
Waite said arrests have also been made in areas within close proximity to the Locker Room, impacting other Greene Street businesses like Advance Auto Parts and Cole Tire Service.
Planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee chairman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, said during recent public meetings pertaining to the proposed establishment of a downtown revitalization district one main concern was that more bars like the Locker Room could be opened.
Establishing a revitalization district would make up to 15 new liquor licenses available downtown, but the state law regulating those districts stipulates that, to be eligible for a license, 75 percent of an establishment's business would have to come from food service.
Waite and McKitrick said three to four city police officers are often located near the Locker Room after midnight Wednesdays through Saturdays until the bar closes at 2:30 a.m.
"Most of the problems we have there are with people who are from out of town," McKitrick said.
Waite said many of the bar's clientele are from West Virginia and he did not expect they would simply move to another Marietta establishment if the Locker Room would lose its liquor license.
"I think the bar should close, but we've never done this before," said Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward.
Kalter said he would contact city law director Paul Bertram III and ask that a letter be sent to the Ohio Liquor Control Board, requesting that the Locker Room's liquor license not be renewed.
Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, noted that the bar's owner had apparently not been notified about Monday's meeting.
"We need to notify the owner that council plans to take some action on this as early as next week," he said.
Bar operator Isaac Eastwood was not available for comment at the Locker Room Monday afternoon.
Ohio Liquor Control Board spokesman Darrell See said requests for non-renewal of a liquor license from municipalities are not uncommon.
"When we receive the request a hearing date is set up for both parties to come before the board and present their case," he said. "A decision will be made based on the information presented."
McKitrick said if the board allows the Locker Room to keep its license, council's action would at least be a warning to the facility.
"Worst case scenario, the bar may not lose its license, but at least they'll know that we're keeping a close watch on them," he said.