After reports of an employee getting a beer bottle thrown in her face, a knifing and a customer’s car being stolen, a Marrero bar should have its liquor license suspended for at least a week and up to 21 days if necessary, the Jefferson Parish Alcoholic Beverage Permit Review Committee recommended at a hearing Friday.
The Jefferson Parish Council will decide whether to follow the committee’s recommendation regarding Smitty’s Lounge, 573 Robinson Ave.
If the council accepts the recommendation as is, Smitty’s would lose its license to sell alcohol for at least seven days. If another incident occurs within six months, the bar wouldn’t be able to sell liquor for an additional two weeks.
Smitty’s owner Kent A. Smith tried to dissuade the committee from reaching its recommendation in part by saying he was often the one either calling the Sheriff’s Office or encouraging the victims involved to do so.
“If there is a disturbance, we promptly report it,” said Smith, a lawyer who operates the bar his father founded more than 50 years ago. “We don’t tolerate any civil disobedience.”
Afterward, Smith remarked, “We will agree with whatever the council suggests, but we would hope that they would not issue a suspension for any period of time ... because we can only control so much.”
The main complaint that put Smitty’s in the parish’s cross-hairs was the slashing of a man who objected to having his shoe stepped on by another patron last September. A confrontation occurred, and the man sustained cuts on the left side of his face as well as one of his forearms after someone pulled out a knife, a sheriff’s deputy testified.
Smith said many of the problems at his bar began after the parish took action against nearby Pee Wee’s Lounge, which he said catered to “a younger, more rowdy clientele.”
Those customers tried to “infiltrate Smitty’s,” said Smith, who often staffs his bar with two security guards.
“I’ll admit running a bar hasn’t been easy,” Smith told the committee before it rendered its recommendation. “It’s been challenging to keep things under control ... (but) a suspension would be unduly harsh in this situation.”