DEARBORN — Another west Dearborn bar is facing efforts to shut it down following scrutiny from the City Council, which stemmed from a rash of violent episodes outside the business.
City Council President Pro Tem Thomas Tafelski charged last Sunday that the Post Bar is a “public nuisance”, heralding that it could become the fourth establishment on Michigan Avenue forced to close its doors in recent years.
Tafelski said in a statement that over the weekend, Dearborn Police officers, “encountered multiple fights, bottles being thrown and gunfire after 2 a.m. The chaos required response from all available police units, plus additional backup from Dearborn Heights.”
He said the brawl lead to a “blatant violation” of an agreement unanimously passed by the Council last month that the bar would pay if police had to be present outside. That is why he is “calling for an immediate revocation of the Post Bar’s liquor license,” he added.
Two bars and a hookah lounge have been forced to close since 2014.
Although the Post Bar has received multiple police citations, the owners said they’ve done nothing wrong and are the victims of city efforts to take bars and nightclubs on Michigan Avenue that are owned by Arab Americans and sell them cheap to Ford Motor Co. for redevelopment.
“It all comes down to city corruption,” employee Moe Charara told the Detroit Free Press.
Besides revamping its headquarters to the tune of $1.2 billion, Ford is spending $60 million to redevelop three blocks in the area.
The project is expected to include two three-story buildings and a four-story parking structure that would accommodate the company’s 30,000 employees.
Mayor Jack O’Reilly told The AANews last month that he hopes commuters driving from downtown Detroit through Dearborn a decade from now will stop there, do business and dine in the city.
The Post Bar responds
Post Bar co-owner Tamer Alwerfalli told The AANews that although the management agrees with the city on certain enforced ordinances, they are selling the property because of the persistent harassment from the city and police.
“They come whenever they want, scare the customers away and then send us a bill for $14,000,” he said.
Whenever police show up, Alwerfalli added they are always thanked for cooperating with new restrictions.
One condition the city imposed was not to play music or allow activity outside on Sundays. Now, Alwerfalli said they do not open at all on Sundays.
The city also wants the bar to turn its outside lights on at 1:40 a.m., but Alwerfalli said they do so even earlier.
Last month, the Council asked the Post Bar not to use its patio, an important asset to the business; Alwerfalli said they have not used it since.
The business was also asked not to allow anyone who came on a party bus inside the bar, because “they could be drunk.”
Alwerfalli emphasized that they do not let such individuals in, and turned away a group on a party bus two weeks ago.
That’s when angry bus riders got into a verbal fight among themselves that later led to blows. Alwerfalli said he watched as police parked their cars, sirens on, outside the building.
“They let the fight escalate, he said. “Like they liked it.”
He added that the fight spilled onto the street, but police blamed the bar.
“The cops finally broke it up, but now it’s our fault,” Alwerfalli said.
“All they did ruined everything,” he added. “This place was worth so much and Ford motor Company gave everyone top dollar in that area.”
Now, he said he gets meager offers to sell the building.
Alwerfalli said he knew the Post Bar was next on the chopping block when he witnessed other bars on the avenue being shut down.
“If Ford had put a decent offer, I would have sold it [to them],” he added. “Who wants to be somewhere they’re not wanted? it’s like the cops took over.”
“Containing the area”
City officials and neighboring residents claim there have been too many alarming incidents there that require rapid response and limit police from patrolling the neighborhoods.
When locals heard of the bar’s possible closing after Tafelski’s statements, some took to social media to slam the business.
In a Facebook comment, Kathleen Fraser said she lives near the bar and wants it closed.
“Apparently they don’t cut off drunk patrons in a timely manner or they are promoting rowdy parties,” she wrote. “Regardless, no one wants gunplay in their back yard!!! I live in the vicinity of this bar and fear a stray bullet. Who wants that near their home?”
In early April last year, a 28-year-old Sterling Heights woman was charged with firing a gun twice in the parking lot at 2 a.m.
Last July, at around 1:50 a.m., a transgender patron was stabbed in the back and struck in the face with a bottle outside the building, according to police.
The victim posted a video that received more than 130,000 in a day, explaining the incident after the attack. Her face was bruised and bloodied. Cuts appeared on her lower lip and eyebrow.
The Post Bar isn’t the first establishment in the area to undergo such scrutiny with the city for its rowdy crowds.
The City Council revoked the liquor license of Nar Bar (located a block from Post) following a shooting last September outside the bar that resulted in two Ypsilanti men being charged with three counts of assault with intent to murder.
During a council meeting later that month, Tafelski expressed outrage that the city’s entire police squad had to be called to the scene.
“At some point, somebody is going to get killed there,” he said. “it’s inexcusable that we don’t have a lid contained on this area.”
In a back and forth exchange with Police Chief Ron Haddad at the time, Tafelski said the city should implement a “bar district” and have police officers stationed there at all times of the night.
Haddad said his officers do usually patrol the area, but that they could leave at any given time if an emergency occurred somewhere else in the city.
A similar establishment, Liv Lounge, also faced a liquor revocation hearing after the police department cited more than 20 incidents at the business that involved firearms discharges, sexual assaults and gang fights.
But the owners closed their doors permanently before the city could move forward and revoke the bar’s liquor license.