City Attorney Tom Carr office is trying to shut down an old-time Columbia City watering hole. Carr's office has opposed Angie's (4915 Rainier Ave S,) license renewal claiming that the bar "poses a detrimental impact [to] the safety, health, or welfare of the surrounding community."
According to records attained from the city attorney's office, police have been called to the bar a number of times since the beginning of the year:
August 6, 2009 : Police respond to Angie's for a "shots fired call." At the scene, a man told police he fired a gun into the ground in front of the bar "because shooting the gun into the air is a felony."(Although it's not mentioned in the city attorney's letter, police also investigated another shooting in the alley next to Angie's on August 21st, although witnesses at the scene say the incident was related to a nearby hip-hop show).
July 2nd, 2009 : Police received a report of a large fight outside of the bar. Police arrived, found signs of a brawl, and entered the bar, where another fight broke out between two women. Officers broke up the melee and, records say, found that one of the women was 19-year-old and "extremely intoxicated." The woman told police she had not gotten drunk at Angie's, but had also not been ID'd when she entered the bar. Subsequently, the WSLCB also cited Angie's for allowing in a minor into the bar and issued a written warning for disorderly conduct.
May 25, 2009 : Police are called to the bar to remove a patron who refused to leave.
April 6, 2009 : After receiving complaints about drug dealing in and around Angie's, SPD began a undercover operation at the bar. Undercover officers were contacted by a man outside the bar, who claimed to "run the block in front of [Angie's]." Police later arrested that man, and at least two others, for selling crack to undercover officers.
February 14, 2009 : Police attempted to remove a large group of men and women who were loitering outside of Angie's. Officers were then involved in an altercation with a man outside the bar, who, records say, struck one officer with his cellphone.
February 13, 2009 : A man approached an officer in a patrol car outside of the bar, and told the officer he and a group of his friends were being following and harassed by another man. The officer watched as the man who'd allegedly been harassing the group "stumbled into Angie's." The officer contacted the man—who, records say, was "extremely intoxicated—and said he was too drunk to be inside a bar. Police claim Angie's staff did not offer to assist in removing man.
February 11, 2009 : Police spot a woman jump out of a car in front of Angie's, run into the bar, and return to the vehicle minutes later., "clutching something in her hand." When officers pulled the car over for a traffic violation minutes later, the driver admitted to paying his female passenger for sex, and told police he had cocaine in his car. The driver told police the woman had just purchased the cocaine from someone inside of Angie's. About a week before, in a February 2 police report, an officer also noted police have seen a "dramatic increase in suspicious activities" in and around the bar.
January 20, 2009 : Just after midnight, police responded to an assault call at the bar. Inside of Angie's, police found one man lying on the floor of the bar, covered in blood. Officers arrested another man inside the bar, who "appeared to be intoxicated," records say.
In a similar operation earlier this year, the city shut down another problem-plagued bar in North Seattle. Police received complaints about drug dealing and prostitution at the Rose Garden bar in Lake City, and sent in undercover cops who were able to purchase crack inside the bar. After the city went after the Rose Garden, the bar's owners—one of whom was a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent—ultimately decided to close up shop.
While Angie's has certainly had its problems over the years, it's a monument to old, pre-gentrification Columbia City. It's decidedly diveyer (not necesarily a bad thing) than the other bars which have sprung up along Rainier Avenue South in the last few years, and has its fans in the neighborhood.
Paul Doyle, owner of the Columbia City Cinema, says Angie's is "like a clubhouse for the community."
Eric, a Columbia City resident and manager at the Columbia City Ale House—which is right across the street from Angie's—regularly shoots pool at Angie's, and doesn't think the bar is having a negative impact on the neighborhood. "I’ve never had a problem over at that spot," he says. "Most of the people that are inside the place are neighbors." Since Angie's new owners took over in December, Eric has noticed some changes at the bar. "They’re trying to clean up their image," he says, but "that’s kind of a slow process. [There is] drug activity and things that go on outside of the building. Once [customers] leave the front door of your bar, there’s not much you can do about it."
Angie's attorney, David Osgood, says he's surprised by the timing of the city's objection, as Lee only took over the bar in December. "The new owner has had it less than a year," Osgood says. "You don't turn a place around like that overnight. It's been a troubled location, [but their] the liquor record is ultimately clean."