Sunday, April 15, 2001

Mount Adams patrons defied curfew

Blacks claim double standard

By Amy Higgins and Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        African-American leaders and fellow business owners were angry Saturday that customers remained at two Mount Adams restaurants Friday night well past the 8 p.m. curfew.

        Television news reports that Mount Adams bars were open late Friday caused some people to accuse police of selective enforcement of the curfew. The neighborhood overlooking downtown is mostly white, and its bars and restaurants typically attract affluent professionals and college students.

        Some Over-the-Rhine residents Saturday charged double standards and reportedly planned to target the area Saturday for protests. In response, police beefed up patrols in the neighborhood, sending full squad cars and vans with police riot gear up the hill.

        The curfew doesn't technically require businesses to close, but does require everyone to be home by 8 p.m.

        “We really have no control over the businesses,” Police Chief Tom Streicher said when asked about the businesses. “They can open if they want to.”

        Still, on warnings from the officers, most businesses along the central entertainment drags — Hatch, St. Gregory and Pavilion streets — closed Saturday by 4 p.m.

        Mount Adams business owners interviewed Saturday said most places did follow the curfew since it went into effect Thursday evening, asking patrons to leave by 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday. With warm weather on the area's busiest night, managers estimated they lost thousands of dollars.

        Staying open, however, were Mt. Adams Bar & Grill and Longworth's.

        The Bar & Grill was featured in the television news report. Co-owner Pat Sheppard said the 10 people in the bar at the time all lived within one block of the eatery.

        “It came off more as some people have to close and some people don't,” Ms. Sheppard said. “That definitely was not the intention.”

        The restaurant's owners received complaints from neighboring businesses on Saturday. It stopped serving at 7 p.m. Saturday so patrons could be home by 8 p.m.

        “I do feel bad it reflected on the neighborhood as a whole,” Ms. Sheppard said.

        Longworth's bartender Brian Schmidt said he closed at 9:30 p.m. Friday when patrons left.

        “I think the whole curfew thing is overrated,” he said, adding that the restaurant/bar would stay open “as long as there's business.”

        Teak owner Bret Michaud said he was disappointed and angered that the few open businesses brought negative attention to the entire neighborhood.

        So did David Crowley, owner of Crowley's Pub:

        “While hurting us economically, it's the right thing to do,” he said. Defying the curfew “is bad for all of us ... I was disappointed to hear that they'd stayed open. It's just not responsible.”


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