The Lake County Liquor Board today unanimously denied the renewal of Coach’s Corner liquor license. The embattled Hessville bar faced remonstrators including the City of Hammond, the Hammond Police Department, Councilwoman Janet Venecz, 6th District Councilman Scott Rakos and others.
Since a murder that occurred in the parking lot of the bar on November 24th, the bar has been under intense scrutiny by the public and the city. The city presented evidence of 77 police calls since the current owner took ownership of the bar in September of 2018, including 9 fights, 2 domestic batteries, 4 weapons offenses, and the one homicide. “I am happy with the liquor board’s decision,” said Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr. “As mayor I’ve always taken tough stances against bars that become nuisances for our neighborhoods and havens for violence. I hope the state commission affirms this decision,” he said.
Officer Brendon O’Neil testified about the additional manpower that the bar has drained from the city over the last year and a half and the extra patrols that the police department has imposed since the night of the murder. “This bar is taking patrols that we should have in other parts of the city and focusing them on the far north part of Hessville to watch Coach’s Corner,” he said.
The city also presented evidence that the bar’s business license was being investigated and the pizza business inside the bar was operating without a license. “I was surprised the bar through their attorney failed to take any responsibility for what has happened at their bar. They blamed the city, the police and bad patrons. If they have any desire to continue to have a good relationship with the city they need to step up and acknowledge their shortcomings, not blame everyone else,” said Kevin Smith, corporation counsel for the city.
The bar plans on appealing the denial of their liquor license to the Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission in Indianapolis.