Bricktown bar managers arrested for patrons' actions

Recent arrests of bar managers accused of over-serving alcohol to patrons in Oklahoma City's Bricktown district are a result of the Thunder Alley shootings, one manager said. Greg Powell of TapWerks Ale House & Cafe said Oklahoma City police are cracking down to avoid more shootings.
BY CARMEN FORMAN cforman@opubco.com Published: July 9, 2012
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When a woman's dress rides up and her buttocks are visible from across the barroom, or when military personnel get so intoxicated they can barely stand up, the bar manager is held responsible.

Bricktown police have arrested bar managers for over-serving alcohol to customers if the managers do not heed previous warnings from police.

One bar manager attributed the arrests to a police crackdown in Bricktown after the shootings near Thunder Alley in May.

“We've tightened down. I think everyone has tightened down,” said Greg Powell, TapWerks Ale House & Cafe manager. “The problem is getting the public and the patrons to understand that we have to tighten down,”

Bricktown police Capt. Don Martin denied police are doing anything different from before the shootings. They are just following the law, like always, he said.

“The law doesn't allow for people that are intoxicated to be in a bar,” Martin said. “It's also a violation for the bar manager, or whoever's responsible for the property to allow people to remain on the premises that are over-intoxicated.”

Oklahoma statutes prohibits someone with a liquor license from selling or serving intoxicating beverages to an intoxicated person, said John Maisch, general counsel for the Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission.

Owners or managers of establishments that serve intoxicated patrons are held vicariously liable, Maisch said.

Powell was held vicariously liable when he was working June 17 because several intoxicated people were found near the establishment, police report.

Oklahoma City police were at the bar when its security personnel forcefully ejected two people who reeked of liquor and couldn't stand up without assistance.

The extremely drunk two were arrested.

Later that night, police found two men sitting in a dark alley unable to use their cellphones to call a cab because they were drunk. The two men told police they had last been drinking at TapWerks.

Police arrested Powell on a complaint of people drunk on the premises but did not take him into custody. Police said they gave Powell a warning about over-serving earlier in the night.

“Usually we give them advance warning, and if it continues then action is taken. It happens, but it's not a nightly thing,” Martin said.

Powell received a ticket with a maximum fine of $100 and a maximum of 30 days in jail.

There was a 25-year class reunion upstairs at the bar that night, Powell said.

“There were probably some people that had too much to drink and ultimately, I'm the one responsible for making sure that doesn't happen,” Powell said. “Your job as a bar manager is to make sure people aren't getting served to the point that they're a danger to themselves or anyone else.”

Not frequent

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I think everyone has tightened down. The problem is getting the public and the patrons to understand that we have to tighten down.”

Greg Powell

TapWerks Ale

House & Cafe manager

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