169 Bar Will Stay Open

April 16, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

Chinatown’s beloved 169 Bar will stay open. The months-long ordeal between the City and the dive bar was settled in court Thursday morning, ANIMAL confirmed.

“The case was resolved. We didn’t admit any guilt. We signed a settlement agreement with the city that didn’t involve shutting us down,” said Jesse Danoff, the lawyer representing 169 Bar. He said the settlement was “a few thousand dollars.”

The agreement, which also includes installing a video surveillance system; an electronic ID scanner that detects fake IDs and logs people coming in and out; and employee training in alcohol awareness, is a slap on the wrist considering that the City was asking the bar to be closed for a year. The bar will continue to station a bouncer at the entrance, as it does not allow entry to minors. “This is a standard agreement they give to bars that have an incident with underage drinking,” Danoff explained.

DNAinfo reported that in the lawsuit filed April 7, the bar was asked to pay a $1,000 fine “for each day it allowed the sale of alcohol to minors;” have any property “used in the creation and maintenance of the public nuisance” seized by a sheriff; and close for a year following the decision.

According to bar owner Charles Hanson, the city took notice of the bar after a neighbor began making complaints to 311. Then, in November, two underage auxillary officers reportedly purchased beer. “We still believe that there was no one under 21 drinking in the bar,” said Danoff of the November incident. Still, “not all of these safeguards were in place in November,” he admitted. The event compelled Hanson to put the aforementioned safeguards in place well before the lawsuit. The City “didn’t know that we were doing all this stuff,” he said.

Going forward, Danoff expects the city to perform compliance inspections, but he doesn’t think “they’ll be targeting the bar more than any other establishment.” As for the neighbor who repeatedly called 311, Danoff called it “speculation,” saying, “I don’t know what the deal is, but there was one person who was calling 311 9 to 10 times a night, but thats pretty much stopped at this point.” And so, the bar is officially open.

“I’d like to thank the customers, friends and fans for their support over the years and of course especially this past week; the texts, emails, tweets, calls and articles in the local internet news outlets made a difference,” Hanson wrote via email, after the settlement was reached. “It’s clear your response to the call for our demise was noticed in ‘City Hall’ and certainly helped us resolve the situation. We will continue to work with the police as we have in the past, to do the best we can for our community.”

(Photo: Karla Murray)