Liquor license hearing turns into brouhaha

June 15, 2010 4:51:08 PM PDT
A big bar fight is brewing in the Rice Village area. People who live in a condo complex near a popular bar say they want the bar gone for good. The fight between Hans Bier Haus and people who live at the 2520 Robinhood at Kirby Condos has been going on all day long at commissioners' court.

It's a battle between a neighborhood bar and its neighbor. Hans Bier Haus has been in the same location for 15 years. The Robinhood has been there just the last few years. But the condo's lawyer says the beer hall shouldn't be allowed to renew its liquor license.

Gary Deserio, attorney for the condo owners, said, "The applicant has little or no concern for adherence to these laws."

The condo association showed a surveillance video taken last December where bar owner Bill Cave comes into the condo's lobby after a resident sprayed water down to toward the bar. At the hearing, Cave acknowledged that he indeed grabbed the concierge.

"I didn't choke him or anything, didn't hit him, didn't choke him," Cave said. "I had him by his shirt sleeves."

But the Bier Haus' attorney says Cave was simply at his wits' end after years of harassment by condo owners. The harassment was so bad, they say, that they actually got a court order against the condo owners.

"To prevent them from spraying water or any substance upon the customers or the premises of Hans Bier Haus, to prevent them from thowing projectiles of any sort upon the customers or the premises of Hans Bier Haus," said attorney Ken Ward.

Lawyers say after that the condo association then used technology to intimidate bar patrons.

Ward said, "They installed high tech videotape and audiotape recording and surveillance microphones and cameras and filmed virtually everything that occurred on the premises of Hans Bier Haus."

But the condo lawyers say they recorded the images mainly to show the bar owners had no regard for their neighbors, and they say that the bar owner had a temper.

"He got in my face (just inches) away," recalled condo owner Jim Souders.

Testimony took place all day Tuesday including the bar owner and patrons, condo owners and attorneys for both sides. The hearing is expected to continue on Wednesday to determine if the bar's liquor license will be renewed.


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