LIMA — As Sgt. Nick Hart was preparing a safety report on Lima bars, a man had his ear ripped off outside of Ketzy’s Bar.
The Monday night following the incident, Lima City Council’s Neighborhood Committee motioned to prepare legislation objecting against the liquor permit renewal of Ketzy’s Bar, as well as Levels Lounge, which is currently dealing with a prior legal challenge from the city.
While Hart’s report covered the six bars that received notices from Lima Police Department concerning high calls of service, the details Hart presented on the “criminal element” that frequent Ketzy’s Bar had councilors shocked about the violence third-shift officers have witnessed at and around the bar located at 800 N. Main St. Hart described multiple instances of beatings, reports of individuals needing medical attention and small riots that bleed into the larger community.
In the last six month period, Hart reported 24 arrests at Ketzy’s Bar, also known as The Shamrock, with little to no cooperation from bar staff. Police logged 49 calls for service with seven calls that came from bar staff because they were either attacked or had attacked bar-goers.
“In the past weekend, damage was done to the bar where an individual was beaten by five others, but nobody saw what he did. That’s the atmosphere that they harbor in that establishment,” Hart said. “Ketzy’s has shown no concern whatsoever. It has become a safe haven, of sorts, for the criminal element.”
As for Levels Lounge, Hart said police officers receive no cooperation from staff, and that DJs often announce police presence to warn to bar goers.
“They let 18 and over go into that establishment,” Hart said.
Of the other six bars given notice, councilors also passed a recommendation objecting to North Side Firehouse’s liquor permit renewal. While the bar does not have the same levels of violence as Ketzy’s Bar, it often acts as an overflow due to its proximity on Main Street. Hart confirmed as much, but the committee noted a continued trend of high call rates from the bar and wanted the full council’s involvement going forward.
During the hearing, Frank Lombardo, owner of North Side Firehouse, admitted to having problems with calls in the past, but he largely blamed Ketzy’s Bar for any current issues at his bar.
“You are the owner and operator of that establishment. (Councilor Carla Thompson) is looking for accountability. Looking back at records, we’ve seen a trend, and your numbers are not decreasing,” Councilor Jamie Dixon said.
Lombardo had received similar criticisms when he last visited council chambers for a high call rate in 2018. At that time, he said he would work with the police department to see what could be done to ensure safety at his bar. During Monday’s meeting, councilors expressed frustration that Lombardo failed to contact Hart for further guidance and that problems continued despite the change in music and increased security Lombardo had promised last year.
Thompson said the committee’s recommendation keeps the discussion open for Lombardo if he takes further action.
Council’s objections to liquor permit renewals act as red flags for Ohio’s Division of Liquor Control. When passed by council, the state agency moves to gather more information on a situation and holds a hearing to vote on whether establishments get to keep their liquor permits.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.