Liquor licenses at risk for local restaurants

Three East Lansing restaurants are in jeopardy of losing their liquor licenses after serving alcohol to a minor in December 2012.

Los Tres Amigos, Dublin Square Irish Pub and Bistro 43 all served alcohol to a minor Dec. 27, 2012, during a sting operation by East Lansing police.

East Lansing police Capt. Bill Mitchell said a volunteer minor attempted to buy alcohol at multiple area restaurants in the sting.

According to the East Lansing police 2011 Annual Report, every local establishment is investigated by an undercover sting twice a year.

Mitchell said the recent cases will be reviewed by East Lansing police Chief Juli Liebler and, at her discretion, sent to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

A hearing might be held, and if the bars have had too many violations, they could lose their liquor licenses.

Both Dublin Square, 327 Abbot Road, and Los Tres Amigos, 1227 E. Grand River Ave., served alcohol to minors on previous occasions as well.

Dublin Square received a violation Dec. 12, 2011, and Los Tres Amigos had one April 9, 2011.
Past violations for Bistro 43, located inside the Marriott, 300 M.A.C. Ave., could not be verified.

Eric Sudol, general manager of the East Lansing Marriott, confirmed the December citation and said it is disappointing the restaurant failed a sting.

“The business has invested a lot of time and training for our employees (to know) what the law is, and what our expectations of a business are,” he said. “We hold our responsibility for alcohol service very highly.”

Arnulfo Ramirez, partial owner of Dublin Square and owner of 13 Los Tres Amigos locations in Michigan, could not be reached for comment.

Ramirez also is a co-owner for the planned Black Cat Bistro, approved last December by the East Lansing City Council.

Mayor Pro Tem Nathan Triplett said city council originally was going to make a recommendation on whether to approve a liquor license for the restaurant at Tuesday’s council meeting, but postponed the decision because of the violation.

“Clearly, the recent violation … is something we’ll have to take into consideration,” he said.

Mitchell said area bars and restaurants train employees not to serve alcohol to minors and avoid violations.

He said bartenders and waitresses who serve alcohol to minors also receive citations.

Political science junior Jasper Watson, whose name has been changed to protect his identity, said stings at area establishments might be extreme, but he understands the necessity for them.

Watson attempted to enter Dublin Square with a fake I.D., but was turned away, although he’s gotten into the “majority of the popular bars” in East Lansing with a fake in the past.

Mitchell said minors do sometimes drink at bars in East Lansing and might receive a citation if caught in a sting operation, although checking on bars and restaurants is the main goal.

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