Businesses that failed the compliance check
Cafe Corretto (formerly Amante Coffee)
Rex's American Grill & Bar
The Tugboat Grill & Pub
Ski Haus Liquors
West End Liquor
Kum & Go (Anglers Drive)
Businesses that passed the compliance check
5th Street Market and Deli
Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar
Canton Chinese Restaurant
Cantina Mexican Restaurant
Double Z Bar & BBQ
Gondola Pub & Grill
La Fiesta Grill and Cantina
Old Town Pub
Qdoba Mexican Grill
Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant
Sheraton Steamboat Resort
Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill
7th Street Liquor
Central Park Liquor
Market on the Mountain
Ski Town Wine and Spirits
Steamboat Discount Liquors
VFW Post 4264
Kum & Go (Curve Plaza)
Loaf N Jug
Creekside Cafe & Grill
Steamboat Springs Ten of the 49 Steamboat Springs businesses that were part of a state-run alcohol compliance check during the weekend will receive summonses for selling booze to teenagers working undercover. Local police said they are disappointed in the 20 percent failure rate from the most recent round of compliance checks.
The alcohol compliance checks were run by agents working for the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Liquor Enforcement Division. A Steamboat Springs Police Department officer was present for the operation that took place Friday and Saturday at bars, restaurants and liquor stores across the city.
In each instance, a 16-year-old was given money and asked to attempt to buy alcohol from the establishment. Police Capt. Jerry Stabile said the operation was conducted following strict guidelines to avoid entrapment and other potential legal pitfalls. If the teenager was asked to show an ID or asked whether he or she was old enough to purchase alcohol, the teen had to answer truthfully. No fake IDs were used, and the teens were wearing a wire to capture the transactions on audiotape, Stabile said.
Employees who sold alcohol to the minors were issued a summons on the spot by a Department of Revenue agent. The holder of each business's liquor license will be mailed a separate summons. The cases will be heard in Grand Junction, Stabile said.
The 10 businesses that failed the compliance check are: Cafe Corretto (formerly Amante Coffee), Cugino's Pizzeria, Panda Garden, Rex's American Grill & Bar, The Tugboat Grill & Pub, Arctic Liquors, Ski Haus Liquors, West End Liquor, Kum & Go (Anglers Drive) and Safeway.
Rex Brice, owner of Rex’s American Grill & Bar as well as four other Steamboat Springs restaurants, said Wednesday that he was disappointed one of his veteran employees didn’t ask the underage buyer for identification. He said that employee has been suspended.
“Unfortunately, these compliance checks are a necessary thing,” Brice said. “I think restaurant owners take it very seriously. I think it’s very often getting that same level of commitment from staff that is the challenge.”
Brice particularly was frustrated by the timing of his restaurant’s failure.
“We just — within the week — had alcohol training to make sure our people are carding appropriately,” he said. “We have our people sign a contract saying they will card everyone. I’m frustrated by my inability to get across the importance of doing this right.”
Big House Burgers and Bottle Cap Bar, one of Brice’s other restaurants, passed the compliance check last week.
Stabile said the 80 percent compliance rate shouldn’t be acceptable for the community.
“We always strive for 100 percent, and we have achieved that before,” he said.
Stabile said the noncompliance is indicative of the need for increased education as well as additional compliance checks. Although this most recent compliance check was initiated by the state, the police department often conducts its own checks using the same standards as those employed by the Department of Revenue.
The city and its police department in 2006 put an increased emphasis on monitoring alcohol sales and increased the penalties for businesses caught selling alcohol to minors. Those moves were in response to a series of undercover compliance checks with dismal results. In September 2005, for example, nine of 11 businesses failed a compliance check. Three months later, six of 18 failed.
As a result of the efforts, the compliance rate increased dramatically during the ensuing couple of years.
Businesses that failed the state compliance check face penalties ranging from a warning to a fine to possible liquor license suspension.
To reach Brent Boyer, call 970-871-4221 or email bboyer@SteamboatToday.com