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Public Hearing Tonight Could Decide Fate of Plymouth's Rock Bar & Grill

Plymouth City Commission offers second public hearing tonight, could recommend revocation of liquor license.

The public has a second chance to weigh in tonight on the fate of the Rock Bar & Grill, a downtown Plymouth establishment that could face revocation of its state-issued liquor license after numerous City of Plymouth Liquor Management Ordinance violations.

The public hearing will take place at the Plymouth City Commission's 7 p.m. meeting today at Plymouth City Hall.

A public hearing was previously held Dec. 17, but the lawyer for the business was unable to attend. 

In a memo for the Dec. 17 meeting, City Manager Paul Sincock indicated recommending revocation of the business' liquor license to the State of Michigan's Liquor Control Commission "is a viable option," but acknowledged most businesses try to bring their operations "back into line with community standards."

The city documented in its Dec. 17 meeting packet a list of ordinance violations and operational problems dating back to 2009, including the following offenses:

  • A 2009 arrest of a bar employee on charges of operating while intoxicated after consuming drinks at the Rock Bar & Grill and registering a .179 blood-alcohol content — more than twice the legal limit of .08. 
  • A 2010 arrest of a bar patron registering a .30 BAC — nearly four times the legal limit. 
  • A 2011 arrest of a bar patron who registered a BAC of .22—nearly three times the legal limit—after her vehicle crashed into a light pole.
  • Police finding a man passed out in front of an adjacent funeral home and deemed by police to be "extremely intoxicated." The man refused a test for BAC. 
  • A Jan. 7 arrest of a man who had reportedly blacked out from drinking before entering the Rock Bar & Grill, was then served additional drinks before exiting the bar and assaulting a woman on Penniman Avenue. The man registered a BAC of .253.
  • A March 10 report of fighting at the bar where a man who had become aggressive with responding police officers registered a .144 BAC.
  • A July 27 citation for serving beer on an outdoor patio of the business at 4 a.m. — two hours past the 2 a.m. curfew for serving alcoholic beverages. 
  • A Sept. 2 arrest of a bar patron who had crashed into a business on South Harvey, registering a .15 BAC.
  • An Oct. 7 report of three men assaulting the manager of the Rock Bar & Grill in an adjacent lot after reportedly drinking at the business. 
  • A Dec. 2 arrest of two men accused of leaving the bar, each with an open alcoholic beverage container. The men reportedy registered BACs of .253 and .214.
  •  A Dec. 6 report of a woman lying in the roadway on Penniman Avenue whose male accomplice told police the two were drinking at the Rock Bar & Grill before the woman collapsed while trying to enter the man's vehicle. Police registered a .313 BAC from the woman and a .226 from the man. 

Patrons of the bar defended the business' operations at the Dec. 17 public hearing.

Chelsea Cunningham, who told the City Commission she and her husband are regular patrons at the Rock Bar & Grill, said the bar upholds a professional and safe atmosphere.

"They have called a cab for us many times," she said. "They make sure we get home safe."

Other patrons noted that bar employees have personally offered rides home to patrons in danger of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, or have at least offered to pay for a taxi.

Janet Adkins, who lives across from the bar in a condominium on the 800 block of Penniman Avenue, told commissioners the bar and its patrons have been the source of loud noises and safety concerns.

"During the summertime I can sit on my balcony and watch the intoxicated people walk out of that bar, stumble to cars and stumble to the parking structure," Adkins said during the hearing. 

Diane Carr January 07, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Explains everything.........they sound negligent on their business dealings.
Wendy Arendts Schultz January 07, 2013 at 06:35 PM
How does this bar stack up against other bars in the area? I'd want to take this into consideration when evaluating it's revocation.
John McKay (Editor) January 07, 2013 at 07:25 PM
The Plymouth ROC on Ann Arbor Road also has gone through similar measures and regularly reports for review before the Plymouth Liquor License Review Committee. The city keeps tabs on violations stemming from all the city's liquor-serving establishments. The amount of violations from both these establishments seems to trend higher than neighboring businesses based on what I've been able to gather, but I will try to get this definitively answered tonight.
Paul Schulz January 08, 2013 at 12:23 AM
I don't think it's appropriate to compare the issues the Plymouth Roc on Ann Arbor rd. once had and resolved, to the problems Roc Bar on Penniman is having. And it could even impact there business. The City of Plymouth had only allegations against the Plymouth Roc, no citations were ever issued, and the establishment voluntarily honored the City's suggestions in conducting business within city limits. Also, I think the City of Plymouth Liquor Control board is over reaching, and information gathering is unconstitutional, and should be challenged by every owner of a liquor license in the city. The city needs to get out of the liquor control power trip, that's the business of the state. Collecting information from drunk drivers does not have any relevance in court. This 3 strikes BS is make believe, nonsense. The city commission, are not legislators. They need a good spanking by a powerful attorney. You bar owners should get together, and push back...
John McKay (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 01:24 AM
I wasn't comparing the nature of the issues, but simply stating that that was the only other bar recently brought before the LLRC.
Bryan Bentley (Editor) January 08, 2013 at 05:23 AM
I think it all boils down to having the letters r, o, and c in the name. If I were to open a new establishment, I would consider a name without those letters. You're welcome :)
Paul Schulz January 08, 2013 at 08:06 AM
@ John - The Plymouth Roc on Ann Arbor rd. can be mistaken for Roc Bar on Penniman. I don't think any other example should have been made, as for the example you provided singled them out. I am sure the owners are not happy being singled out. Just thought I'd mention the Plymouth Roc on Ann Arbor rd. employs and trains its waitstaff and bartenders to serve responsibly. The Plymouth Roc on AnnArbor rd. also employs military personnel to provide security for it patrons. The Plymouth Roc on Ann Arbor rd. as it evolves, is growing into a great restaurant, with new menu selections recently unveiled New Years Eve. I have heard they are gearing up to focus on a more mature crowd, with Jazz, Blues, and Motown venues. If there New Years Eve image is the new model, they will easily become one of Plymouth's Greatest destinations for, drinks, dinner and a great evening out. I frequent all of Plymouths Restaurants and bars, I love them all. But since the latest owners took over, along with managing partner Jordan West, have turned the place around, and are growing into an establishment the community should be proud of. It should be noted that the Plymouth Roc on Ann Arbor rd. is in good standing with the City of Plymouth, and that should recognized as well.
Paul Schulz January 08, 2013 at 11:05 AM
@ John - I have a question about some of the alleged violations against the Roc Bar on Penniman. The story states all these arrests of bar patrons, assuming they were from the Roc Bar, how does the city gather these so called "facts"? Answer: From the drunk drivers themselves, who could have visited a dozen different bars. How does it get pinned on a bar, that strike. A lot of establishments are starting to question the actions of the city of Plymouth, and there independent LCC. If I were the city I would settle for complaining to the state, and get out of the liquor control business,and let the free market lead the way. It's just a matter of time before someone's rights get violated again and lawsuits fly... There's a gentlemen in town whos thinking opening a gun shop downtown, will the city dictate to them some oversight next? Smaller government, less regulation, free market.
P. Baker January 12, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Its a good place. The place changed to a younger crowd and that may ba an issue? Not sure why or how that happened. The fact that smokers are standing on the street ads to noise issues. Hope it can survive this because it is a nice place!
jebs March 19, 2013 at 07:40 PM
It would be interesting to see how all the downtown bars stack up, I would imagine people walk back and forth to all of them to an extent (maybe not the more elite ones).. perhaps the city would be wise to look into partially sponsoring a "ride home" program for patrons where the city slightly subsidizes it to make it more appealing? At the very least put up signs for "ride home" services all over downtown?

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