LINCOLN — One of the most popular game-day hangouts for Husker football fans finds itself “on thin ice” after paying $8,000 in fines for allowing a 19-year-old intoxicated customer to drink from a bottle of Captain Morgan.
The owners of Barry’s Bar & Grill, at Ninth and Q Streets in Lincoln, reached a plea agreement Wednesday with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission after being accused of seven liquor law violations. They pleaded guilty to allowing a 19-year-old man to consume from a bottle of rum that was sold as a part of the bar’s “bottle service.” They also pleaded guilty to serving to an intoxicated patron, after the same underage man registered a blood-alcohol level approaching three times the legal limit.
A lawyer for Barry’s owners, Kevin Fitzpatrick and Kevin Duffy of Richmond Rollins LLC, said they are making serious investments to train staff members on how to prevent future violations.
The owners agreed to pay a pair of $4,000 fines in lieu of a 40-day suspension of their license. In exchange, the Attorney General’s Office and the commission agreed to the dismissal of the other violations, said Hobert Rupe, the commission’s executive director.
It’s the third time the bar has been caught selling alcohol to intoxicated customers in the past four years, Rupe said. A fourth such violation in that time frame would result in cancellation of the bar’s license.
“They understand they’re on thin ice,” Rupe said Wednesday.
Since the April 20 incident, the owners have increased security staff at the bar while consulting with industry experts on how to more reliably detect fake identifications, said Mike Kelley, an Omaha attorney who represented Barry’s. The owners also operate three bars in Indiana and two in Missouri.
“They’re really serious about doing all that can be done to prevent these violations,” Kelley said after the hearing.
The steps so far have impressed the members of the liquor commission. Chairman Bob Batt of Omaha said the owners were “not just spouting platitudes” and have confiscated dozens of fake IDs since the April incident.
* * * * *
Correction: An earlier version of this story and headline stated that Barry's Bar & Grill sold a bottle of rum to the 19-year-old customer.