Paddy’s and Sips denied renewal for annual liquor license


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Finn Mcnally

In their meeting Tuesday, the Ames City Council voted against the renewal of the 12-month liquor license for Paddy’s Irish Pub and Sips. However, they also voted to allow the owner of the bars to apply for a six-month license.

The recommendation for denial came from the Ames Police Department. Police Chief Geoff Huff said due to the amount of citations handed out to underage patrons at Paddy’s and Sips recently, they could not recommend a full-year renewal. The police have counted 20-such violations so far in 2021 between the two bars. 

Huff said the police department would recommend the six-month renewal in order to give the bars a chance to fix their issues.  

“We don’t doubt that Sips and Paddy’s can get this figured out and reduce these numbers,” Huff said. “Right before renewal, to have that high number is obviously not acceptable.”  

He also listed recommendations for how the bars could reduce the amount of underage people that enter their establishment, including better staffing, monitoring of all entrances and an app to detect fake IDs.

“We’ve done this in the past, when we’ve had problematic establishments, giving them the six-month license,” Ward 1 Rep. Gloria Betcher said. “We did that with a couple of instances previously, and it seemed to work.” 

Andrew White, the owner of Paddy’s and Sips, provided context for the issue. He said the number of violations was unacceptable and that he was unaware of how many there had actually been. There were 15 violations in January and five in February, but White said he had originally been told there were seven in January.  

“For the 13 months going back to last January, there’s been a grand total of 23 [violations], only eight others the entire year,” White said. “Sips and Paddy’s have not been a chronic problem with minors.”

White noted that his bars have turned in over 300 fake IDs since January. His staff attended a police seminar on fake IDs on Jan. 27. White said they were introduced to new fake IDs that the police had been seeing that they were unfamiliar with. In February, the following month, the number of violations dropped from 15 to five. 

Paddy’s and Sips has added the scanner app mentioned by Huff and has bolstered their security at all entrances. 

The City Council also voted to approve the criteria for the upcoming Small Arts Grant Program. The program intends to give money to individual artists or groups of artists in the Ames community to fund projects that will benefit the city of Ames. 

Permits for Greek Week were on the agenda, but the requests were pulled by the applicant.

The next meeting will be at 6 p.m. March 23 and will be available to the public via Zoom and viewable via livestream.