Crickets bar could lose liquor license

Raw liquor

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A south side tavern could have trouble with city council over its liquor license.

“We have put everything into this bar. Everything. This is our life. My children work here. I work here,” Crickets owner Christine Holovatick said.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, 7th Ward Councilman John Swierz will call for a hearing of the State Liquor Control Board on the liquor permit for Crickets on Midlothian Boulevard.

Every December, council has the right to call for state hearings on any liquor permit in the city. Crickets license is one of three that are up for review.

Swierz said he has gotten complaints from neighbors that live near the bar.

But police reports show calls for “unfounded” noise complaints at the bar several times in the past six months. During one of those calls, the officer reported the sound of the real crickets outside was louder than the noise from the bar.

27 Investigates reporter Amanda Smith reviewed the violations on file with the state for every pub and tavern in the city. Many of the bars in Youngstown have at least one violation.

To search the Ohio Division of Liquor Control database, click here.

Mayor John McNally said the city looks at all of those reports.

“We take those violations very seriously. I think the council people take it a little bit more seriously. If you become a problem location within the city because of numerous violations, city council members are going to take notice of that,” McNally said.

Smith found bars in the 7th Ward that paid fines for selling alcohol to minors or not paying state taxes. She asked Councilman Swierz if he was aware of those violations.

“See, no one has ever brought that to me. As far as I am concerned, if I am not getting that information from the police department, I would not have that information,” Swierz said.

The owners of the bar wonder if their current problems are rooted in some sort of personal conflict with City Council.

“There are bars in the Youngstown area where there are problems. And I understand that we have to have the mechanism to help curb problems. But Crickets is not one of those bars,” Holly Hanni, legal counsel for Crickets, said.

On Tuesday night, supporters of the bar met to find out what they can do to help.

Customers at Crickets made signs to take to with them to the Youngstown City Council meeting on Wednesday. Some plan on going to the meeting to back their neighborhood bar.

“We would like to show the city council that Crickets is not a nuisance. We have people that love and support us and that are going to back us to the end. We are here to stay and we don’t plan on going anywhere,” Crickets manager Amanda Piatt said.

“I feel like personally there is some vendetta going on in what people are saying and what is going on and it is unfortunate really. Because one or two people are upset and they are just adding smoke to a situation that really is not there,” customer Ryan Ross said.

Crickets has arranged for shuttles to take supporters to the city council meeting. Anyone interested in going should be at the bar on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

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