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civitas

Bridge Street Bars

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The block proposed for development at 1st and Broadway is a couple of blocks north of the bar scene on Bridge Street.

I talked to a police officer this morning who said they stopped a girl last night who had been at Monte's drinking. She had a 0.29 blood alcohol level. 0.08 is legally drunk and at 0.30 they are required to take them to a hospital. He said you'd have to drink 2 or 3 beers every inning of a 9 inning baseball game to hit 0.29. He also said that isn't uncommon with that crowd in that area.

I have heard before that the concentration of bars is a serious problem to the redevelopment of that area. It sounds like it is also a serious` problem to our community.

Comments?

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maybe by adding residential, the community nudges out some of the plethora of drinking establishments in that area as people need more day to day types of shops/restaurants rather then a collection of bars.

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...

I talked to a police officer this morning who said they stopped a girl last night who had been at Monte's drinking. She had a 0.29 blood alcohol level. 0.08 is legally drunk and at 0.30 they are required to take them to a hospital. ...He also said that isn't uncommon with that crowd in that area....

I just found an alcohol metabolism chart; if she weighs 140 lbs she'd have to pound 8 drinks in one hour to achieve that. Someone who goes to bars, please tell me what $$ that would cost.

Please tell us that she was merely lurching down the sidewalk!

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I just found an alcohol metabolism chart; if she weighs 140 lbs she'd have to pound 8 drinks in one hour to achieve that. Someone who goes to bars, please tell me what $$ that would cost.

Please tell us that she was merely lurching down the sidewalk!

I understood she was driving, as do most of the drunken kids who are served as much as they want until they fall off their stools. The point wasn't about guys or girls or the extent of this one example, but that this apparantly is a common occurance. This has to have a significant impact of this neighborhood and on the city.

Given the potential for Bridge Street, should the City allow more bars to concentrate in this area? Are there too many already?

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Actually, I think we could use some more bars. If we have this super concentration of quality bars it would make it even more marketable to the outside. I say wave on...

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I understood she was driving, as do most of the drunken kids who are served as much as they want until they fall off their stools. The point wasn't about guys or girls or the extent of this one example, but that this apparantly is a common occurance. This has to have a significant impact of this neighborhood and on the city.

Given the potential for Bridge Street, should the City allow more bars to concentrate in this area? Are there too many already?

The point I am stretching for, and eventually hope to reach, is that a lot of money is being disposed of, and someone with a more neighborly (or socially-conscious) product to sell and a competent marketing scheme could do quite well.

There's no reason that adult beverage establishments can't have more going on than supplying booze. Heck, this suggests there's a strong market for a designated driver service to haul the patrons safely home!

How many bars are there? I know of two (the Irish place with the openable front windows has made a dent in my consciousness).

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I just found an alcohol metabolism chart; if she weighs 140 lbs she'd have to pound 8 drinks in one hour to achieve that. Someone who goes to bars, please tell me what $$ that would cost.

Please tell us that she was merely lurching down the sidewalk!

If she's a cute 140lb'er, she could probably go all night and not have to pay for one drink.

That high of a BAC can also come from possibly knowing the bartenders and having a few extra shots thown in your LIIT (or whatever your poison), having a bunch of shooters in a row, or various other forms of shots. Or if she got an early start at 7 or 8, and then was at the bars until 2, 10 beers in that time frame would probably get her pretty liquored up.

On that note, I think establishments that are basically "bars" (food is a secondary concern and only offered to satisfy code) are aplenty on Bridge, but if new restaurants wanted to open that sought a liquor license, that would be fine.

Veloise, there are probably about a dozen when you include the Anchor, Kale's, Radio Tavern and a number of other older bars. Young people do go to these (as I have in the past).

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I think there needs to be more easy late night transportation there and at least a cop or two in the area when the bars close to monitor the situation a little or at the least scare the people that are thinking of driving. There may be cops there already but I haven't seen them. I'm all for having a good time but some people are just not responsible enough to handle it.

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I think there needs to be more easy late night transportation there and at least a cop or two in the area when the bars close to monitor the situation a little or at the least scare the people that are thinking of driving. There may be cops there already but I haven't seen them. I'm all for having a good time but some people are just not responsible enough to handle it.

More transportation is key. You can almost never find a cab downtown unless you call ahead of time. At 2AM all the cab drivers in the city should be at the bars but that's not the case. The only times I've seen cabs is on holidays like New Year's and even then, have fun getting into one since there aren't enough cabs to go around.

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The main bars that people frequent on Bridge are Monte's, O'Toole's and Anchor. You also have Level a few blocks down on Broadway at the American Seating complex and then a smattering of hole-in-the-wall type places and restaurants that have a small bar area.

I think residents in the neighborhood are definitely concerned about the impact of the Big 3 (Monte's, O'Toole's, Anchor). The same people who own Monte's own O'Toole's and I believe that Monte's was looking to expand into the empty storefront that sits between the bars. However, the neighbors shot down any expansion to either that building or the second floor that Monte's wanted to do. They ended up renovating (nicely I might add) their current space and expanding the restrooms.

Part of the reason that people get so boozed up on Bridge has to do with the fact that none of the big 3 ever really have a cover charge. Plus, Anchor is well-known as an establishment that serves very stiff cheap drinks. So you get people like that girl who end up blowing a .29 because they start at about 7 at Anchor, then maybe get another couple drinks at O'Toole's and then have quite a few more at Monte's and finish the night there. You can polish off a lot of drinks in 7 hours.

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More transportation is key. You can almost never find a cab downtown unless you call ahead of time. At 2AM all the cab drivers in the city should be at the bars but that's not the case. The only times I've seen cabs is on holidays like New Year's and even then, have fun getting into one since there aren't enough cabs to go around.

This is completely false. I have been going to bars pretty regularly for a while now. I have never had a serious problem getting a cab and I've been in quite a few. Sometimes you have to wait ten minutes, but I bet in the last 3.5 years I've never waited longer than that unless it was a 'bar' holiday. I've gone through my bridge street phases and my ionia phases, even Michigan phases, so I know it doesn't matter the location.

I'm sorry, but your post is absurd.

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30+ years ago there were multiple bars on Bridge St. with people too drunk to drive, driving. This is not a recent phenomenon. The names have changed, but the liquor has always flowed on Bridge street.

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The block proposed for development at 1st and Broadway is a couple of blocks north of the bar scene on Bridge Street.

I have heard before that the concentration of bars is a serious problem to the redevelopment of that area. It sounds like it is also a serious` problem to our community.

Comments?

IMHO, the concentration of bars and the money people are throwing away to get toasted on a nightly basis, is more than just a re-development problem...it's definitely a community problem. Since we're speaking of this area in particular and what to do - move the bars or make it less densely bar-populated- whatever you do people just find other places to go blotto. People get toasted so they don't have to feel and there's a lot of sh*t people are trying not to feel these days.

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I understood she was driving, as do most of the drunken kids who are served as much as they want until they fall off their stools. The point wasn't about guys or girls or the extent of this one example, but that this apparantly is a common occurance. This has to have a significant impact of this neighborhood and on the city.

Given the potential for Bridge Street, should the City allow more bars to concentrate in this area? Are there too many already?

I have a few insights/opinions on this subject as the bar is very near and dear to both my wallet and social life.

First, can we please point out that this isn't a problem with just "Kids". I have had plenty of "Adults" 35-60 year olds removed from the bar because they couldn't stand up straight. I have been at Bar Divani plenty of nights and seen Joe Blow Investor get smashed, get up grab his keys and hop in his BMW parked outside. I have also spent PLENTY of time and money on Bridge street to say that it's not just "kids" down there drinking and driving, there are plenty in the 40 year old+ range doing the same thing. This is both the fault of the person drinking not having enough responsibility, and the bartender for over serving, which in some places is taken seriously.

Secondly, there are enough cabs in the city, you just have to plan, and have some patience. I too have spent the last 6 years "researching" the availability of cabs in this city from the hours of Midnight-3am. Sure you have to wait, but they'll be there. This isn't NYC, there are not thousands driving around no, that wouldn't be a good business decision due to regular volume. There also used to be (and I'm 99% sure there still is) a "safe ride" program put on by one of the local religious establishments. When I used it, there was no "preaching" or anything, just a easy way to get your intoxicated butt home.

Now on to Bridge. I don't see an issue with more bars down there. O'tooles does pretty darn good with it's food sales throughout the day and night. Bridge Street Pizza does awesome business w/o the alchohol (it's delicious too btw). In almost all cities of size I've been to, there are "Bar Districts". Right now in GR, we have 2 or 3. The "Arena District" which has TONS, Bridge Street, and Michigan. As it's been pointed out, people in my age bracket have TONS of disposable income, and many of them spend that money going out to eat, and to the bar. These places do well when they're in concentration because of the "Over flow" and the need to only get to one location to have fun for the night. I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather see a bunch of successful businesses (bars or whatever) than a bunch of crappy empty store fronts in run down buildings, which is what Bridge had been for years before Paul and Dave did their thing .

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I spent half of my adult life in the Bridge St bars until I wised up and quit drinking 12 years ago. They were biker bars back then. Riggy's, Konkle's, Froggy's etc.... I haven't been to them in years but back from the early 80's - 90's, they would keep the drinks coming either until someone passed out or got REALLY obnoxious or violent (fist fights, stabbings and the occasional shooting were not uncommon back then). You had to try pretty hard to get cut off - never happened to me. When I walked into rehab in 1994, I blew a 4 and I was walking and talking. They said I should've been dead. They had a doctor on-call who stayed with me that first night in case I went into convulsions or anything - withdrawal is very similar to coming off heroin when you're regularly knocking back that much. Toward the end of my drinking career, the cops started cracking down on drunk driving, etc. but before that, they'd just give you a lecture, maybe dump out your booze and send you on your way. Once the laws became more strict, most of us were smart enough to not drive - we'd get apartments close to Bridge St, crash with friends, or call cabs.

Anyway, to the point of the original question, I don't think the bars would necessarily be a discouragement to development. There are alot of cool old buildings on Bridge St which could be redeveloped beautifully in the right hands. People are always going to drink if they really want to and even though I don't personally frequent them anymore, the bars have their place in our society and should stay. I think the really drunk girl driving and those who follow in her footsteps are more a matter for the cops - not developers.

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I think it's more desirable to keep bars concentrated in districts than to spread them out. I imagine it makes law enforcement easier, gives the taxis an obvious spot to go, and people bar hopping don't need to drive to multiple locations. It's probably good for business as well.

-nb

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I think it's more desirable to keep bars concentrated in districts than to spread them out. I imagine it makes law enforcement easier, gives the taxis an obvious spot to go, and people bar hopping don't need to drive to multiple locations. It's probably good for business as well.

-nb

Good point re: making law enforcement and cabbie's lives easier. Also, since the bars we liked were concentrated on Bridge St, we did do most of our "bar hopping" on foot.

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I don't see a problem with the bars on Bridge St... there have always been bars on Bridge. It seems as though some people are whistling a different tune once it became the gvsu/20-somethings area. I think diversifying the neighborhood(both business and residential) will calm a lot of concerns. As a different crowd moves into the West Grand Neighborhood there will be a need for different stores and bars. Hopefully, a mix of shops and maybe a higher end lounge bar/restaurant in the area could change perception and calm the area as a college only crowd. Business is business and I don't believe in telling people what business they can't open where.

p.s. Heartside and RosaPark areas don't seem to have problems attracting residents and business due to a high concentration of bars.

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I don't think the bars on bridge are a serious problem,although I don;t live in the neigborhood. I would love to see a few strong bar districts like Bridge street and Ionia street vs. several bars spread out over a distance thats hard to walk to. IMO Bridge could use 2 or 3 more bars. Most of the people who go down there get a safe ride down there (at least I do), park in the free public parking lot behind and walk to the bars.

By the way I see cabs down there everytime I've been there and Montes has a cover.

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This is completely false. I have been going to bars pretty regularly for a while now. I have never had a serious problem getting a cab and I've been in quite a few. Sometimes you have to wait ten minutes, but I bet in the last 3.5 years I've never waited longer than that unless it was a 'bar' holiday. I've gone through my bridge street phases and my ionia phases, even Michigan phases, so I know it doesn't matter the location.

I'm sorry, but your post is absurd.

Am I not entitled to an opinion? In my experiences I have had a hard time finding a cab at closing time especially during really busy nights. I guess I'll just shut up and let the more experienced drinkers tell me what's up, right Mr. many different phases?

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right Mr. many different phases?

:lol:

I guess I read "You can almost never find a cab downtown unless you call ahead of time. At 2AM all the cab drivers in the city should be at the bars but that's not the case." as a statement of fact rather than your opinion. My bad, relax.

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:lol:

I guess I read "You can almost never find a cab downtown unless you call ahead of time. At 2AM all the cab drivers in the city should be at the bars but that's not the case." as a statement of fact rather than your opinion. My bad, relax.

Just as an FYI, I was in a cab the other night heading TO the bar, and I was talking to the driver. He said to call anytime after like 1:30 am is pointless because they already have every available driver making runs to and from the bars. The only ones not just driving down and waiting for people are the ones who have calls elsewhere in the city. He said the best thing to do is wait outside, and stand a little away from the huge crowds of people. He says usually he loves the after bar rush because most drunks are really good tippers, and only occasionally has he had to deal with the idiot drunk that needs to be kicked out.

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The discussion about catching cabs is funny. In fact (OK not fact just my experience), just try catching a cab in any of the big bar districts in Chicago at night. You'll wait at least 10 minutes if not longer. You usually have to go to a side street and hope you find a stray cab.

I think when Bridge Street gets to the point where at 2 AM, throngs of people spill out into the sidewalks and streets and create almost a "block party" atmosphere, it will then start to greatly affect future development in that area.

BTW: Frank's Gym looks very cool with the punching bags hanging in the windows. And if the Monte's/O'Tooles owners were denied an expansion into the building between the two, what are they doing with that building? Somebody's working on it.

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