As Hank’s Hideout prepares to reopen in Riverside, city officials and residents testified Friday against renewing the bar’s liquor license at the new location. But the owner said the new place won’t be anything like the former bar.
The city’s attempt to prevent the renewal of Hank’s Hideout’s liquor license continued Friday afternoon during a three-and-half-hour long hearing at the Montgomery County Administration Building.
James Bally, a hearing officer with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control, said he will make a recommendation to Bruce Stevenson, the department’s superintendent, and a decision about the renewal will be rendered in a few weeks. The decision can be appealed to the Liquor Control Commission.
“If they do get their liquor license, I hope they are considerate of the neighborhood,” Riverside Mayor Bill Flaute said. “I’m also hoping that the hearing officer will take into consideration everything that was said. (Hank’s Hideout hasn’t) cared about our residents’ views in the past. I’m not sure what will make them change their way of doing business.”
If Hank’s Hideout is granted its liquor license renewal, Flaute said it will be up to city council to appeal.
This is the first time city council officially has objected to Hank’s liquor license. The city did not object to the transfer of the license to the new location on Burkhardt Road.
Owner Greg Buchholz has been renovating the new location, a 1,600-square-foot space at 5526 Burkhardt Road, which is at the east end of a shopping center that also is home to Kroger. Buchholz began leasing the space in December and has spent a little more than $40,000 renovating it, he said.
Buchholz — who testified he has not been cited for liquor or noise violations — said the new location will not have an outdoor patio or live music, only a jukebox indoors.
“We can’t have any business outside,” he said. “Only in the space that we’ve leased.”
Buchholz and his attorney, Theresa Baker, declined to comment after the hearing. Buchholz previously described Hank’s as a “neighborhood tavern,” and said the city already had approved his occupancy and sign.
The former Hank’s Hideout at 643 Spinning Road burned down July 1, 2012, and was ruled an arson by the Division of State Fire Marshal. Police officials testified that the bar drained the city’s resources and served alcohol after the hours it was permitted to.
One of the exhibits presented by Riverside attorney Jon Freeman was similar to what then-Police Chief Mark Reiss presented at an April work session, comparing the number of police calls of 13 liquor establishments in the city. The time frame was from March 1, 2012, through April 11 of this year, Reiss said.
Christy Club had 97 total calls, followed by Hank’s with 70. Excluding service calls for permit holder checks and alarms, Hank’s was fourth with 38, including loud music (12) and disorderly (6). Reiss previously said that the numbers for Hank’s Hideout probably would have been higher if it hadn’t burned down.
Sgt. Harold Jones said the police calls to Hank’s increased in the six months before the fire.
A number of Riverside residents and elected officials voiced their concerns during the hearing about the establishment being in close proximity to residential neighborhoods.
“It’s taking those issues and problems from one side of Spinning Road and allowing them to move to the other side of Spinning to what was and still at the moment is a very peaceful residential neighborhood,” said Larry Kopa, who lives on Marblehead Drive.
According to Michael Duchesne, a spokesman for the Division of State Fire Marshal, nothing has changed in the arson investigation and there are no new leads. A reward up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the fire.