BlackFinn suspension ends after quiet weekend
BY BILL BIRD email@example.com November 19, 2012 6:08PM
A security guard at BlackFinn American Saloon, 16 W. Jefferson Ave. in Naperville, was seriously injured when he was stabbed by a customer he was trying to escort out early Sunday, police said. March 6, 2011 | Sun-Times Media File
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:16AM
The controversial BlackFinn American Saloon in downtown Naperville is open again for late-night business, after suspension of its liquor license for four municipal liquor code violations.
Mayor A. George Pradel, who also serves as the city’s liquor commissioner, confirmed Monday the nightclub’s owners have been given permission to serve alcoholic beverages again during the late-evening and early-morning hours, including the upcoming, lucrative Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
BlackFinn, 16 W. Jefferson Ave., has been the scene of numerous disturbances since first opening its doors, most recently with the arrests of three men last week after a fight there.
Another brawl on Oct. 27 ended in the arrests of four men, one of whom police had to subdue with a Taser. Additionally, an ex-convict is awaiting sentencing for an incident that occurred March 6, 2011, in which he stabbed a BlackFinn security worker with a knife.
BlackFinn officials on Nov. 5 admitted to four violations of the city’s liquor code. Two involved the failure of the bar’s general manager and assistant manager to undergo mandatory municipal training for servers of alcohol, while the others stemmed from misrepresentations on the business’ current liquor license application.
The voluntary agreement stated the city would suspend BlackFinn’s late-night liquor permit for a seven-day period that began last Friday, and which barred the nightclub from serving alcohol after 11 p.m. BlackFinn’s permit typically allows the sale of alcoholic beverages until 1 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
BlackFinn officials will also see that security staff members undergo local Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training (BASSET), and install a patron identification checker within 30 days. They also will install security cameras within a year and pay a fine of $1,000.
City officials last week agreed to suspend the remaining four days of the penalty, or Monday through Thanksgiving Day, provided no additional liquor code violations occurred during the first three days of the period.
Pradel last week said he and city officials had “laid down the law” to BlackFinn, and warned “there would be deep trouble” if anything untoward occurred there over the weekend.
“The weekend passed with nothing out of the ordinary” occurring, Pradel said Monday afternoon. “There were no violations of any kind.”
“They took their suspension very seriously,” Pradel said of BlackFinn officials. “They even closed at 10 o’clock” each night.
Pradel said police “made several trips, to make sure nothing was going on” at BlackFinn throughout the weekend. He added his office and police “will be keeping a watchful eye” on BlackFinn during the holiday weekend and into the future.
“They can resume (late-night) service, but we’re still making sure everything is going good there,” Pradel said. “There’ll be a police presence there for the rest of the week.”
A woman identified as a BlackFinn manager declined to discuss the matter when reached late Monday by telephone.
“There’s nothing to say,” the woman said. “The mayor has done what he’s done, and we’re all good here.”
Police Chief Robert Marshall last week said ensuring the safety of those who work in and visit the downtown area “is a top priority” for his department. “Those who chose to be disruptive, violate our ordinances and liquor codes and ruin the experience for others will be held accountable,” he said.