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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Police data prompts bars to crack down on underage consumption some using ID Scanners

Second quarter reports from the Carbondale Police Department show city bars are increasing their efforts to prevent underage consumption.

According to the department’s year-to-date summary of bar arrests, there were 84 arrests at Pinch Penny Pub, 27 at Stix Bar & Billiards, 22 at Sidetracks, and 20 at Callahan’s/Cali’s.

Seventy-four of the arrests at Pinch Penny Pub were related to underage consumption, according to the report. At the Feb. 3 Liquor Advisory Board meeting, board chair Mark Robinson proposed bringing the bar’s management to the next meeting to discuss the high number of arrests.

James Karayiannis, general manager of Pinch Penny Pub, declined to comment and asked reporters to leave the bar Wednesday.

In the 2008-2009 liquor license year, Stix Bar & Billiards had a higher number of arrests than Pinch Penny Pub while under the management of Gary Knoob. Stix had 170 to Pinch’s 68 for the license year. Knoob managed Stix, Cali’s and Callahan’s that year, he said.

“The (police) specifically focused on us. They told us they were going to. The entire time we were open, there were three undercover police officers within the building,” Knoob said.

Gary Robinson, owner of Tres Hombres, said Carbondale requires at least half the staff go through a training process called Training for Intervention Procedures that shows servers how to recognize when people have been overserved or are too young. He said in a university town with many underage students, it’s common to see minors try to get served.

Bryan Woodruff, general manager at Sidetracks Bar and Grill, said his entire staff is TIPS trained, and the owners have stressed the importance of thorough license checking, especially with bartenders and doormen.

“Our crowd is generally within 20 to mid-20 (age) range, so we don’t deal with (crowds) directly like Stix and Pinch,” Woodruff said. “They get slammed, so it’s going to be a lot more difficult for them to catch everybody.”

Robby Delre, owner of Cali’s, Callahan’s and Stix Bar and Billiards, said underage consumption has been a problem in the past at his establishments.

The Carbondale Liquor Control Commission voted in December 2008 to fine Knoob for failing to deter illegal activities that took place in the parking lot outside Cali’s, formerly Southern Illinois Nightclub, July 13. Former Assistant City Attorney Jamie Snyder said Knoob’s staff allowed a large crowd to gather outside the bar, which led to charges of marijuana possession, public drinking and fighting.

This year, Delre said his bars had more security and stayed on top of carding and stamping everyone. Staff at Cali’s also use an ID scanner at the front door, he said.

“We turn in more fake IDs than anyone in southern Illinois, not even in Carbondale,” Delre said. “This year we took 76 IDs from kids who were using false IDs at Puck Finch in one day.”

Kayla Kearns can be reached at or 536-3311 ext. 265.