Downtown bar cited for allegedly over-serving patron

Scott Franz
High Five was cited by the city for allegedly over-serving a patron.
Scott Franz

— The Steamboat Springs Police Department is continuing to crack down on bars it thinks are breaking the city’s alcohol rules by over-serving customers or handing out drinks beyond 2 a.m.

High Five, a pizzeria and bar in Old Town Square, recently became the third downtown establishment this year to be cited for an alleged liquor license violation.

Police officers say they witnessed a bartender there serve a shot to a customer who appeared to be highly intoxicated.

According to the police report, officers who were in plain clothes observed the bartender give the shot to a “known drunkard,” who the officers had witnessed slurring his words and holding onto bar stools for support.

At one point, officers reported seeing the man appear to fall asleep at the bar before he was given more alcohol. He had also reportedly asked the officers if they were FBI agents.

A High Five manager told police the establishment would usually kick the man out of the bar “before he gets too (expletive) faced,” according to police.

The officers were in the bar specifically to watch out for liquor license violations.

High Five could be fined or have its liquor license suspended for the alleged violation, which occurred in September.

The bartender also faces penalties.

At a liquor license enforcement division hearing on Thursday, High Five owner Jon Sanders questioned the accuracy of one of the police officer’s accounts of the incident.

He said he also hadn’t spoken to his attorney yet about the alleged violation.

“I’m not even sure what this hearing is for,” Sanders said.

The hearing, which was held to determine whether there was probable cause the violation occurred, was continued to next month to give Sanders more time to consult with his attorney.

Sanders said new managers are in place since the incident occurred.

The High Five case follows two other cases of liquor license violations in the downtown area this year.

In July, The Pit on Fifth BBQ was cited after officers found bar patrons drinking alcohol at 2:33 a.m.

And in June, the owners of Schmiggity’s agreed to pay the city fines after the bar was cited for serving patrons after hours and allowing some patrons to consume alcohol outside of the venue.

Hearings before the liquor license compliance division used to be rare in Steamboat.

Prior to the violations this year, the last time the liquor license compliance division held a hearing was in January 2013.

Police Chief Cory Christensen said when he arrived in Steamboat last year, some community members told him some city liquor license holders were “out of control.”

“I don’t believe that to be true, but we have increased our education with the license holders,” Christensen said. “We’re also holding them accountable when they mess up. We want to work with them.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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