DAVENPORT, Iowa – Iowa state regulators say they’ve gotten more than 160 complaints about Davenport’s Shenanigan’s Irish Pub since a fight and a shot being fired early Sunday morning.
For the fourth time in five years Davenport aldermen are calling on the state to remove Shenanigan’s license.
The state says the city hasn’t proven that Shenanigan’s is at fault for the fights at the bar, or that the owner is a bad person letting it happen – but that could change after Sunday night.
The newly formed Downtown Davenport Business Coalition fears not only will customers drive by their businesses, but other businesses won't stop in the heart of Davenport either.
“It keeps people from the west part of downtown and that’s where we want to see the most growth,” says the coalition’s co-founder, Dan Bush.
On Tuesday, aldermen decided to petition the state to remove Shenanigan’s liquor license – it’s been tried before.
“I think we just have to put the pressure on because it’s time,” Bush says.
In the past, the Iowa Alcoholic Beverage Division has denied the city’s request. We wanted to know why.
“In each case, the administrative law judge determined there was not sufficient evidence by the local authority,” says Tyler Ackerson, Iowa ABD spokesperson.
State regulators say the city has submitted a lot of evidence in previous cases. Ackerson admits the evidence clearly shows incidents at Shenanigan’s that put the public at risk and have been a burden to the police.
“But what hasn’t been show is any of these actions were knowingly permitted or engaged in by Shenanigan’s or Shenanigan’s employees and that is the level they have to meet,” Ackerson explains.
That’s why the state says Shenanigan’s hasn’t violated Iowa law, and the city hasn’t proven the bar owner is not a “person of good moral character”.
“Really, it’s in the state’s hands at this point,” says Bush. “But if it happens again and a stray bullet ends up hitting somebody, that will be on the state and not the city.”
The city says it’s encouraging people to file a complaint form with the state.
News 8 reached out to both the owner of Shenanigan’s and the owner of the building. But owner, Donnie Davison told us to contact his attorney, Michael Meloy, who hasn’t yet gotten back to us.