Council revokes City Bar’s liquor license
By: Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – During a special session of the Crowley city council Wednesday, the council voted unanimously to revoke the liquor license of Ronnie’s City Bar located at 123 East First St. in Crowley. The bar had been cited numerous times for serving drinks to minors and having minors enter the bar with alcoholic beverages.
Crowley Chief of Police K.P. Gibson brought the issue up to the council during their March meeting where he suggested revoking the license.
“The amount of underage drinking and sales to underage people has continued at this establishment even after I met with Mr. Daigle (City Bar owner Ronnie Daigle),” said Gibson. “There have been people as young as 17 that have been cited. My job is to not only to protect these kids but the drivers on our city’s streets as well.”
Daigle took the podium and stated that things had improved at his bar.
“We quit letting people in the bar that are under 21 even though people 18 and older are legally allowed to enter a bar and not drink,” he stated. “The kids that are drinking outside the bar I can’t control. I’ve tried. I don’t know what else to say...some of these citations have been minors that walked into the bar with a beer they brought in.”
City Attorney Tom Regan countered that “it doesn’t matter where they get the beer if they’re in your establishment they are breaking the law.”
“It’s hard to oversee what your bartenders are doing all the time,” said Daigle who cited a former bartender Nicole Menard who he is currently pressing charges against for allegedly stealing poker money.
“We’re not here to talk about your bartenders,” responded Regan. “This matter is about minors drinking in your establishment.”
“I’d like to add that this is by no means an individual problem,” said Gibson. “Three of your bartenders have been cited.”
“I know it’s tough but this is a responsibility you take when you get that license,” said Gibson. “I’m not here to shut down a business that follows the law but if the law is broken it’s my job.”
Daigle suggested that he didn’t feel he was being treated equally. He mentioned that he had visited other bars in Crowley and never saw any citations issued to their bartenders.
“You also never see any fights or drug dealing in my bar,” he added.
“You’re mixing apples and oranges,” said Alderman Vernon ‘Step’ Martin. “The issue we are discussing today is underage drinking. When you get that license you are agreeing to prevent people under 21 from drinking in your bar.”
Gibson stated that his officers do run checks on other bars and citations have been handed out “but not nearly as frequently as at the City Bar.”
Alderman Lyle Fogleman, in who’s district the bar is located, spoke next.
“I personally don’t agree with the legal drinking age but it is the law,” he said. “We’re in a tough spot here. It’s in my district and I make the motion to revoke the license.”
Alderwoman Mary Melancon seconded the motion and the council unanimously voted to revoke the license effective immediately.
“Mr. Daigle I want you to know that this council does not take shutting down businesses in our city lightly,” said Mayor Greg Jones.”
“I take no pride at all in shutting down one of our city’s businesses,” he said. “However the repeated violations that have happened there made this place detrimental to the safety of Crowley’s young people.”
“I believe that Mr. Daigle was given ample opportunity to correct his problems but chose not to do so until he knew his license may be revoked,” Gibson continued. “I am very happy with the council’s decision.”