By David McCabe
Knox County Sheriff’s Officers conducted a surprise ID check on the night of Wednesday, Jan. 26 at the Gambier Grill, according to eyewitnesses and the owner of the establishment, Andy Durbin.
The Sheriff’s Office was contacted, but representatives were unable to comment on any aspect of the incident.
The evening of the 26th was a standard night at the Grill – loud music and flowing taps – until around 12:30 a.m., when the officers – an eyewitness says there were three – entered the restaurant, asking everyone to stay where they were and not to try to leave out the back.
The lights were turned on. The music stopped.
According to Durbin, the officers checked approximately 20 IDs, and found one student who was underage.
Durbin, who pays a doorman to check IDs on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, said the student must have used a fake ID to gain entry, and that the doorman he employs has been working at the Grill for more than four years and has never been cited for letting in underage drinkers.
When the officers left, they told Grill management that they could turn the music back on, but by that point, no one was really in the partying mood, according to Durbin. “It lost us money,” he said.
“In some ways I’m not surprised that they found [first-years] in there,” President S. Georgia Nugent said.
The Grill was not the only liquor-serving establishment to come under scrutiny that week. The following night, the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU), which enforces liquor license violations, among other roles, conducted a “compliance check” at the Village Market, according to OIU spokeswoman Julie Hines. The Market is the only grocery venue on campus that sells alcohol, and President Nugent said that “occasionally we hear something from the sheriff about the market needing to watch more closely for underage students buying alcohol.”
Records obtained from the OIU indicate that the Market was cited for “selling beer to a minor” and “furnishing beer to a minor.”
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