No reprieve likely for Harborside

Harborside Bar & Grill’s last chance to show it had cleaned up its act apparently did not fare well, as a large fight and two disorderly conduct arrests last weekend convinced Mayor Kim Abel and Police Chief Al Townsend that the establishment did not deserve their support for a permanent license.

“The problems continued,” Abel said, explaining that a fight involving 20 to 30 people reportedly broke out in the bar then spilled outside, requiring eight units — including Port Orchard Police officers, Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers — to respond around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

The incident proved that, “Whatever they did this weekend didn’t work,” Abel said.

Abel noted on Friday she was waiting to see what happened that night and the next before notifying the Washington State Liquor Control Board of the city’s decision regarding a permanent liquor license.

Abel said she and Townsend already had withdrawn their support for a renewal of Harborside owner Scott Hlinka’s temporary license, which expired Monday morning at 12 a.m.

On Monday, Abel said she planned to meet with Hlinka the next day to inform him of the city’s decision, then she would notify the liquor board.

Townsend and Abel have met with Hlinka several times during the past few weeks regarding “the great deal of problems” Townsend said his officers have had with the bar over the last few months since Hlinka took over March 1.

Abel conceded there are other problems with similar businesses in Port Orchard, but that the problems surrounding the Harborside “were much bigger problems than other existing establishments, both in the number and intensity.”

Townsend said the bar has monopolized his police force every weekend for several weeks, racking up noise complaints and at least 13 arrests of alleged patrons for drunk driving, underage drinking, and fights due in large part to what Townsend described as “over-service” of alcohol.

“The city has a great number of concerns regarding past practices and performances at the bar,” Townsend said. “We want to be pro-business, but the businesses have to be good neighbors.”

On July 14, Hlinka submitted what he called a “game plan that will provide permanent solutions to the problems,” which included hiring a consultant to monitor the bar on Friday and Saturday nights, the stoppage of alcohol service at 1:15 a.m. on weekends and other measures designed to prevent crowds, fights and minors gaining entry.

“I’m not trying to say we don’t have problems, but now we have a game plan to make sure they don’t happen again, and I’d like a fair opportunity to be successful,” he said, explaining that he currently has a five-year lease on the building.

Hlinka described last weekend as “fantastic.”

“We were full to capacity, and there weren’t any problems with fights or other issues as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Hlinka said he closed the Harborside Monday for cleaning, but that he planned to open the restaurant Tuesday. He said he still hoped to receive either a temporary or permanent liquor license.

“Selling alcohol is 90 percent of our business,” he said.

Townsend said although the liquor control board has the final say in whether Hlinka is issued a license, “It is my understanding that they greatly value the local jurisdiction’s opinion, and I would guess it will be denied.”

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