Police will step up enforcement at Rosemount barThe May 7 fight that ended with one man driving his car over another is just the latest in a long line of violent episodes outside Rosemount’s Shenanigan’s Pub, and it has police and city council members talking about whether changes are needed at the downtown bar.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
The May 7 fight that ended with one man driving his car over another is just the latest in a long line of violent episodes outside Rosemount’s Shenanigan’s Pub, and it has police and city council members talking about whether changes are needed at the downtown bar.
Rosemount police chief Gary Kalstabakken said Shenanigan’s has been a problem spot for several years. Since Jan. 1 police have responded to 11 reports of fights or assaults at the bar, six reports of disturbing the peace and four reports of drunkenness. The rest of Rosemount’s bars together have generated just one fight report in the same time period, and none since Jan. 26.
“It’s always been our busiest (bar) for calls for service, but the number of calls for this year is above and beyond,” Kalstabakken said.
In a report to council members at a May 12 work session Kalstabakken said police have been called to Shenanigan’s seven times since police sent a March 25 letter saying the number of calls to the bar was unacceptable.
But Shenanigan’s owner Mike Herrmann said he feels like he’s been unfairly singled out for criticism. He said many of the fights in the city take place in his parking lot because that’s where most of the convenient parking downtown is located. He said people park there, then walk to other bars downtown and often finish their night at Shenanigan’s.
“The problem is they’re counting every time they come and break up a fight in a parking lot or an alley, they count that call as Shenanigan’s,” Herrmann said.
Herrmann, who is in his eighth year as owner of the bar, said he reduced the size of the shots he serves and stopped serving shots after 1 a.m. after he got the city’s March 25 letter. But he said he runs things now much the same as he has since he bought the bar.
“Our business practices haven’t changed,” he said. “When times were good the city didn’t have any issues with us.”
Part of the problem council members have seems to be the seriousness of some of the recent incidents. The May 7 fight was the second since the winter that ended with one Shenanigan’s patron turning a car into a weapon.
Kalstabakken said he plans to meet soon with Herrmann to discuss the situation at the bar and what can be done to improve it, but police are already planning to make a few changes in the way they handle the bar. Kalstabakken told council members he plans to direct officers to walk through the bar at least once a night from Sunday to Wednesday, and at least twice a night from Thursday to Saturday.
Police currently make occasional stops at all Rosemount bars, but Kalstabakken said they will be more deliberate now at Shenanigan’s.
“I think that it will have an impact to a certain extent,” Kalstabakken said. “If they walk though and spend some time in there, that’s probably 20 to 30 minutes a night that an officer is going to be there. You would think you’d be on better behavior.”
City council members are considering other possible actions, including changes to liquor license rules. Council members talked about requiring bars with a Class A liquor license — which does not require food sales — to close by 1 a.m.
Currently Shenanigan’s and Celt’s Pub are the only Rosemount businesses with Class A licenses, but Kalstbakken said Celt’s sells enough food to qualify for a lower-level license. Shenanigan’s does not.
Council members said they hope to step in now to stop things from getting worse.
“My concern here is that it’s going to become a snowball effect,” council member Mark DeBettignies said.
Council members put much of the blame for the problem on Herrmann, suggesting a lack of oversight from the owner has led to an anything-goes atmosphere at the bar. Kalstabakken said the March 25 letter to the bar pointed to overservice of customers as a problem. Herrmann said he tells his bartenders not to overserve customers, but said it can be hard to tell who’s had too much when customers spend part of their night drinking elsewhere.
Kalstbakken said there is also an issue with the kind of customers the bar attracts.
“I think there’s a reputation that develops of what is acceptable at certain businesses,” Kalstabakken said. “The behaviors that are occurring there have led to fights or disturbances that we don’t get at other bars.”