Despite a litigative elephant in the room the Walnut Creek City Council Monday denied an appeal from the owner of Crogan’s Sports Bar & Grill and moved to curtail the hours liquor is served at the business – something city officials and police say has contributed to numerous incidents both inside and outside its doors.
The business’s owner and her counsel asked the council to reconsider a plan calling for the bar/restaurant to issue its Last Call at midnight and to shutter its doors a half hour later, saying such a move would have “devastating” impact on the venerable establishment’s bottom line – and on the Holiday wages of their staff.
They requested a stay to keep their bar service open until 12:30 a.m. through Jan. 1, 2017, the mere half hour time difference having a significant impact on employee wages through the Holidays, according to owner Patricia Wilkinson.
The council assented, members saying they did not wish to unduly impact employee’s wages, but saying their first priority was in ensuring public safety, something Crogan’s continued operation as a recognized public nuisance threatened on a fairly regular basis.
“When the recommendation came to us initially I was more in line with let’s just revoke the deemed approved (designation),” council member Cindy Silva said. “… you’re not going to change a business model that has gone awry by allowing it to continue as it has been.”
Council members said Crogan’s had abandoned its original model as a downtown restaurant and, over time, committed to being a full-fledged bar – with all the associated problems. The council’s decision to curtail the business’s hours was made despite hints of a lawsuit from Wilkinson and her attorney.
“I don’t think the public would mind us being sued over this,” Silva said. “I think they want this resolved.”
Wilkinson said business has been off 20 percent since a patron was shot to death outside her business in August, with police citing a series of 13 additional incidents either in or near the establishment since September.