City Hall

Report: 208 Bars in City Violated Rules

By Erica C. Barnett December 1, 2010

A new report from the city's nightlife code compliance team, released at a city council committee this morning, shows that of about 1,500 bars in Seattle, 208---or about 11 percent---violated state or city laws related to public safety, licensing, noise, health, taxing, or permitting last year. Those 208 bars have had 409 noise complaints so far this year.

Committee chair Tim Burgess called the 11 percent figure "a good number"; however, city nightlife office director James Keblas noted, "You can't tell a neighbor that's being bothered by a club, 'Oh, we have a great track record.' It would be great if we could get the operators that work really hard ... to put a little more pressure on these venues so that we have more of a peer to peer process to get the in alignment with what we're trying to do."

Eleven bars' cases remain "in progress." Many of those, in the words of city finance staffer Bill Reddy, are "intransigent," or "establishments that we've been working with for quite some time."

The largest number of liquor-licensed establishments (73) that violated state or city rules were in the city's west precinct; the lowest number (10) was in the southwest precinct.

Earlier this year, the council passed a so-called "meathead" law designed to help police crack down on drunk, rowdy late-night crowds downtown. Assistant police chief Mike Sanford told the council the police department hasn't implemented the law, which had to be approved by the state Department of Ecology, yet, but is training officers with videos and plans to start enforcing the law early next year.
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