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Westfire Grille imposes new rules to keep the peace

By Jeffrey Pieters

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

Westfire Grille has a new attraction for patrons.

It’s several pages of rules, ranging from a dress code to discourage gang colors to a "zero-tolerance" policy on violence in and around the bar in west Rochester. The rules will be posted at entrances.

Westfire manager David Sylwester presented the new rules at the city council’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

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The bar remains on probation with the city until mid-September. The council would consider revoking the bar’s license if problems, including brawls in the parking lot, occur again. Sylwester’s proposed set of rules is meant to prevent that.

Among the new rules, Westfire will:

  • Require government-issued identification for every patron and give every patron a wristband indicating whether they are older or younger than 21. (People who are 18 to 20 years old are admitted to certain special events.)
  • Check purses, gift boxes and baggy clothing for weapons at the door.
  • Prohibit gang-related clothing, including hats, do-rags, bandannas, sweat pants, gang colors, gym shoes, sunglasses and white T-shirts.
  • Add bouncers. As many as eight will be on duty for large events and five for smaller events. A quiet night at Westfire requires only one to three security staff members, Sylwester said.
  • Restrict patrons from passing in and out of the bar and eliminate alcohol use in the parking lot.

"We’re also trying to bring in a higher class of people," Sylwester said.
Special events, such as rap-themed nights, attracted a troublesome clientele, Sylwester said.

His comments were borne out by Sgt. Don Timmerman, who said that, on a regular night, "I don’t believe Westfire has any worse problems than any other bar in town."

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