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City council hears Harborside’s side

In the aftermath of Monday night’s Port Orchard City Council meeting, Harborside Bar & Grill owner Scott Hlinka is optimistic about his chances in front of the Council at its next meeting Aug. 9.

After hearing Hlinka and several of his bar’s patrons respectfully request on Monday that the city work with the establishment one more time, drawing back Mayor Kim Abel and Police Chief Al Townsend’s recommendation to the State Liquor Control Board to deny the Harborside the renewal of its liquor license, the council voted to further hear the issue.

The decision was made before a group of 50 Harborside representatives crowded into council chambers after walking from the bar.

Councilmember Rick Wyatt voted against the hearing, along with John Clauson and Carolyn Powers. With Ron Rider having recused himself, Mayor Kim Abel broke the tie in favor of the hearing after some confusion and the departure of the crowd.

“I feel you support your staff,” Wyatt said. “I support the mayor and Chief Townsend.”

“I was truly touched to see there was that many people in the community that felt that way,” Hlinka said on Thursday. “I think it turned out well.”

However, Hlinka said he is cautious when it comes to any further conflict with city officials.

“I’m actually going to take a stand,” Hlinka said. “I’m going to try to get it resolved before (Aug. 9). I really don’t want it to go to a vote, because even if it goes to a vote, I have to have a relationship with these people. It’s about a lasting relationship.”

On Thursday, Hlinka sent out a letter for Abel and Townsend requesting to meet with them. Hlinka said he hopes to win the support of the mayor and police chief and present a united front at the hearing.

“Maybe we’ll go to the meeting and give each other a big hug,” Hlinka joked.

Hlinka’s letter outlines some of the ways he plans to improve his relationship with the city and make sure he is never in this situation again.

“Some of the ways we plan to resolve our issues is to have our last call at 1 a.m. all the time,” Hlinka wrote. “We will be closed Sunday and Monday and the rest of the week we will be open at 1 p.m. with last call at 1 a.m.

“We are also increasing our security staff to 10 and the additional security will have experience in the bar and club industry to put some experience here with us.

“We will also have a ‘watcher’ with only one job — to watch for individuals that may be becoming intoxicated.

“We will also have bartenders pouring from a standard shot glass until we can get a gun that measures that exact amount.

“We will also adjust our drink pricing to be competitive with other bars in our community.

“We are also joining the local bar association and are taking classes to aid us in our areas of management that we lack with the younger crowd that we attract.

“We are setting up a taxi service for our patrons to avoid any drinking and driving issues.

“Our security will be outfitted with police-like shirts with our logo to give a stronger presence. The security will also focus more on crowd noise control in our patio area and keeping a close watch for troublemakers to avoid fights.”

According to Hlinka, he also met with six or seven of the business owners affected by downtown highway construction, offering to help them in any way he could.

When asked whether he believed the Harborside Bar&Grill could stay in business serving soda, coffee and sports drinks, Hlinka was optimistic.

“Anything’s possible,” Hlinka said.

Abel and Townsend were unavailable for comment. Their joint recommendation to deny the Harborside’s license has already been sent to the Board, however the council requested the board be contacted and asked to hold off on its decision until after the August hearing.

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