Sunday, August 3, 2003

Uncle Milt's last call

Problem bar gone

A brief item in Saturday's paper noted the demise of Uncle Milt's. Good riddance.

The bar at Burnet and Erkenbrecher avenues was a magnet for drug dealing and violence and a sore spot in the Avondale neighborhood for years. Police once arrested a bartender for selling cocaine right along with the drinks. Police reported hundreds of trouble calls in the block where the bar is located every year. Officials at the nearby Ronald McDonald House, which lodges families of children being treated at Children's Hospital, warned patrons not to walk past the bar.

Last year, following a concerted effort by neighborhood groups, members of Cincinnati City Council and the police, the Ohio Division of Liquor Control revoked the bar's license, but the place stayed open while the ruling was appealed. Finally, on Wednesday, owner Deanna Morgan gave up the fight and shut the door.

Uncle Milt's probably wasn't the worst joint in the city, and Morgan certainly wasn't personally responsible for people who caused trouble outside the bar. But in recent years Uncle Milt's became a symbol for Cincinnati neighborhoods fighting to maintain their quality of life.

Its closure should go down as a victory for residents, elected officials and police who are willing to work together to make their community a better place to live.

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