Local Bars May Lose Their Liquor License

(CINCINNATI) -- Thirteen local bars could lose their liquor licenses on the recommendation of Cincinnati Police and the communities that surround them.

The bars are sprinkled all over the city -- Walnut Hills, Northside, West Price Hill, and they got closing calls from the cops based on the number of complaints of criminal activity.

"It could be just neighborhood complaints such as loud noise, littering, cars parked in violating disorderly people leaving the bars," said Lt. Mark Briede with Cincinnati Police.

Tuesday night, Cincinnati City Council's neighborhood and public services committee heard from both sides -- bar owners and citizens -- about whether those liquor licenses ought to be pulled.

One of the establishments fighting to keep it's license is an Over the Rhine bar where Cincinnati Police say crime jumped more than 50 percent in the last two years.

Martin's Bar on West McMicken is a family owned bar that's been around for 30 years, but the people who live and work around it, who are trying to make Over the Rhine a better place for everyone say it's got to go.

Outside, neighborhood kids enjoy the weather at Grant Playground.

Inside Martin's Bar, Cincinnati Police say in 2007 four people were shot. They got almost 150 calls for service and they say drug trafficking is a problem.

"From when it opens at 10 a.m. until 2 or 3 at night, there's crowds, car stereos booming, there's fights, shootings," said Over the Rhine resident Steve Hampton.

Hampton isn't the only neighbor who's had it. Brooke Gumm calls police at least twice a week.

"My bedroom is about fifty feet from the back of his bar and nightly I hear lot of noise, fights up and down the street. I hear gun shots," she said.

The bar's owner, Bonnie Martin, appeared before council with an attorney to defend Martin's, which she says has been in her family for 30 years.

Martin's Bar neighbors who live in Over the Rhine because they are determined to be part of the solution say this is one of the places that has to go to turn the area around.

So neighbors hope city council will agree and solve the problem by revoking the bar's liquor license.

There will be a second hearing in two weeks on all 13 bars and their liquor licenses, where city council will take public comment again and then make a decision on which bars can keep their licenses and which will lose them.

FOX19.com: Corey McConnell