UPDATE: Today’s special hearing on Crogan’s future has adjourned and been continued to Dec. 5 after additional information is presented to the city council. A number of citizens addressed the council on both sides of the issue. For now, it’s business as usual at the bar.
Efforts by city and state officials alarmed by the number and severity of incidents at or in the proximity of Crogan’s Sports Bar & Grill in Walnut Creek could force the venerable establishment to close, it’s owner said in her appeal of a city decision to curtail the bar’s hours.
Owner Patricia Wilkinson wrote in a attachment to an appeal filed Oct. 24 that forcing the establishment to halt liquor sales at midnight and ordering it to close at 12:30 a.m. would spell the end of operations for the 38-year-old fixture in the Walnut Creek club scene.
Wilkinson and her attorney are appealing planning commission findings which deemed the saloon a public nuisance – requesting that alcohol sales be allowed until 12:30 p.m. with the business closing its doors at 1 a.m.
Initial indications are that the council, calendared to meet with Wilkinson and hear her appeal at their meeting Tuesday night, may be inclined to deny it. City staff points out that Crogan’s was granted “deemed approved” status as an existing restaurant with full alcohol service in 2012 – with “hundreds” of calls for police response to “serious and violent incidents” since that time.
In August, a man named Courtney Brown left Crogan’s after drinking there one Saturday night, only to be confronted and shot down by another man just across the street. A Bay Point man was subsequently arrested, police hinting that the shooting was a squabble over drug turf by members of a Bay Area gang.
In October, the planning commission determined that Crogan’s constituted a nuisance and imposed a series of 15 conditions regulating its operation, prompting Wilkinson’s appeal and point-by-point rationale for why she should be allowed to run the business as before.
Two days after she filed her appeal with the city, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), also wrote that the bar was under investigation for allowing or for being involved in incidents resulting in cases of public intoxication, overserving of patrons resulting in alcohol poisoning, fights, assaults and batteries, and incidents of domestic violence.
ABC investigators furnished Wilkinson with a summary of calls for service to the bar between September 22 and October 19 – the period when the planning commission was weighing revocation of Crogan’s Deemed Approved status, and found:
A man in need of hospitalization for alcohol poisoning after drinking at Crogan’s, though he could not remember how much he had had to drink. A breath test revealed he was four times over the legal limit.
On Oct. 15 officers reportedly spotted a man racking a shotgun while standing in the middle of Locust Street between Cypress and Mt. Diablo Boulevard at 12:24 a.m., officers determining that two men had argued inside the bar and that one man had brandished the weapon at the other when they reached his car. Officers said Crogan’s security staff had not advised their department of the incident prior to the encounter, and that they took the shotgun away from its owner at gunpoint.
That same night, at 1:31 a.m., officers said a man walking out of Crogan’s was set upon by two men at Cypress and Locust Street after making derogatory remarks. Both men were eventually found and arrested for public intoxication – one after a short foot pursuit.
And the next night, officers reported, they responded to the 1600 block of Cypress Street for a disturbance involving as many as a dozen people. It was determined that the group had been ejected from Crogan’s for fighting inside the business and had picked up where they left off once outside. One of the party was located and arrested for DUI, according to police, who noted that security staff had not reported the initial fight to police.