Students waiting to gain entry in Uptowns Bars

Ohio University students waiting for entry outside The Crystal, which was recently cited by the state for flouting public health orders. Photo by Ben Peters.

By Ben Peters

Athens NEWS Associate Editor

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission ruled last week that The Pigskin Bar and Grille, Stephen’s On Court, The Crystal, and The CI were all in violation of public health orders after they were cited in recent months by a state agency, resulting in either liquor permit suspensions or fines for each establishment.

The Pigskin was found in violation of health orders after entering into an admission as to permitting after hours consumption of alcohol and to serving drinks in unsanitary conditions. It was issued either a five-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 4 or the option to pay a $500 fine instead.

The bar originally received an administrative citation in September after agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), which investigates suspected illegal activity in bars, visited about 11:20 p.m. on a Thursday night and saw through the front windows patrons drinking beers and bartenders still serving alcohol.

Gov. Mike DeWine signed an executive order in July prohibiting bars from serving alcohol after 10 p.m. in an effort to slow spread of the coronavirus.

Stephen’s, The Crystal, and The CI were all found in violation of public health orders in connection to all three receiving citations in August as the result of an investigation conducted by OIU into a fatal crash that occurred early in the morning on the Fourth of July.

During their investigation into the crash, authorities watched surveillance video captured at all three bars and were able to determine each had violated health orders on the night of the crash.

Authorities observed patrons in each bar walking around with alcoholic beverages, standing shoulder to shoulder with no social distancing and with employees not wearing masks.

Stephen’s was found in violation of allowing customers to engage in disorderly activities that put them at risk of illness. The bar was issued a 30-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 4, but was also given the option to pay a $3,000 fine in lieu of serving the suspension.

The Crystal and The CI were also both found in violation of disorderly activities. The Crystal was issued a 30-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 4, or the option to pay a $3,000 fine instead. The CI was issued a 30-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 24, but given the option to pay a $9,000 fine in lieu of serving the suspension.

The CI was also found in violation of state law in connection to two other citations issued in 2019. The bar was issued an eight-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 4, or the option to pay an $800 fine, after selling alcohol to underage persons in November 2019.

In connection to a December 2019 citation for serving alcohol to underage persons, The CI was additionally issued a 12-day suspension beginning at 12 p.m. on Dec. 12, but given the option to pay a $2,400 fine in lieu of serving the suspension.

The commission ruled in October that Pawpurr’s Bar was found in violation of public health orders after it was cited in August by OIU for failing to enforce social distancing and masking requirements.

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