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Bar’s liquor license is on the line

By Jeffrey Pieters

jpieters@postbulletin.com

A bar in northwest Rochester that’s been plagued by fights and other disorderly behavior could lose its city liquor license during a public hearing later this month.

The city council has scheduled a June 16 public hearing to consider revoking or suspending Westfire Grill & Bar’s on-sale exclusive liquor license.

It’s the second time in a month the city council has called a bar owner in to discuss problems. In May, the council met with the owner of Gilligan’s Cove, 11 Fourth St. S.E., who promised improved security and methods to reduce the amplified bass from live music performances at the bar. He also said he would have security lights installed in the alley to put a stop to problems that include patrons drinking outside the patio area, leaving broken glass, urinating in public and vandalizing property.

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The council’s action with Westfire stems from a series of fights and other problems at Westfire, a 4-year-old bar and restaurant at 2043 Superior Drive N.W.

Rochester police responded to incidents in April and May. In one of the fights, an employee told police, more than 15 people were involved, and chairs and bottles were thrown inside the restaurant. That fight spilled into the parking lot.

David Sylwester, a Westfire manager, said the bar has taken steps, including doubling its security force, to stop the problems.

The bar also reduced the frequency of its hip-hop and rap nights, which drew a younger crowd, including some with gang affiliations, Sylwester said.

"We don’t want to be a party to it any more," he said. "We don’t want a war zone out here every time we have something (a special event)."

Westfire’s bar license is held by Chunx Inc., a corporation wholly owned by Chun Ziang Guo, the wife of Eric Guo, who formerly owned Bon’s Buffet, another Rochester nightclub that had a record of problems with disorderly patrons.

Eric Guo is serving a 21-month prison sentenced for tax evasion. Guo also faces possible deportation to China.

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