Westfire Grille's liquor license under scrutiny - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

by Jennifer Hoff

Westfire Grille's liquor license under scrutiny


ROCHESTER, MN (KTTC DT) -- A popular Rochester nightclub is under scrutiny again Monday night after police say the violence there is getting worse. Now, city council members say they may decide whether or not to revoke Westfire Grille's liquor license.

Two Rochester police officers addressed the city council Monday showing graphic photos of people who have been injured during fights at Westfire.

Officers say, the public is in danger and so are responding officers.

The council is now considering revoking Westfire's liquor license.

One officer says, "Not only are shots being fired, baseball bats being used, but then a car was trying to run people over."

Rochester Police officers say, the violence is escalating.

Councilmember Ed Hruska says, "Rioting, gunfire, and assault is totally unacceptable."

City council members say, they will put a stop to it.

Westfire Grille has been in trouble in before.

Just last summer, the popular Rochester nightclub was on probation for having unnormally high amouts of fights and gang activity.

Manager David Sylvester agreed to a new security plan.

David says, "No hats, no do-rags, no bandanas."

It also included no gang colors, no sweatpants, and ladies purses were to be checked at the front door.

Rochester police say, Sylvester isn't following that plan and the violence is getting worse.

Officer Doug Remling says, "He was again warned, and here we are right back to where we were before with the violence."

Which police say is worse than other area bars.

Since January, they responded 20 times to reports of disorderly conduct and assault at Westfire.

11 times at the Aquaris nightclub.

7 times at Rookies.

Officer Remling says, "We've got a mass group of people that are fighting and we're trying to protect people and keep ourselves safe at the same time."

Police say, weekend events like Open Mic, Latin, and Hip Hop nights are drawing gang members from the Twin Cities, LaCrosse and Owatonna.

Officer Remling says, "They know we're short handed, they think we're a smaller community and that they can get away with this."

Westfire staff were not at Monday's meeting.

Terry Adkins, city attorney says, "That's why the council can't do anything until it has a public hearing to allow the owner of the bar a chance to respond to the allegations."

The public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 7 at 4p.m.

That's when council members may decide to either suspend or revoke Westfire's liquor license.


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