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Bar that Akron police called ‘troubled’ opens back up; records show calls for police have already started again

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 2:52 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - A bar that police called “troubled” is back open and already receiving complaints again.

19 Investigates told you when the business voluntarily shut down in August after an investigation revealed multiple instances of violence and dozens of calls for police to the location.

Now, neighbors say they are watching the chaos start up again as they wait for officials to step in.

“We’re very concerned,” one neighbor said.

He asked us not to identify him for his safety, but he lives near the Sky Lounge on Akron’s South Street.

This Friday, there is finally a hearing scheduled at the state level that could strip the bar of its liquor license.

While neighbors are glad to hear that, they want to know why has it taken so long to get here, allowing the bar’s management to legally operate in the meantime?

“I’m disappointed with the whole system, that nothing was done from the last time,” the one neighbor told us. “I have a bad feeling, and all of us around here do, that it’s just a matter of time. The craziness of the clientele that show up and urinating in our yards, throwing the garbage in our yards, it’s total disrespect for those in the neighborhood. We don’t need that.”

Our cameras captured video of a man decorating the outside of the bar and the drive-through liquor store next to it just a few weeks ago.

“There’s been people in and out of there, fixing things up, cleaning things up,” the neighbor said.

Since we shot the video, Akron police say officers have been called to the location three times for noise complaints and suspicious activity.

This summer, 19 Investigates uncovered dozens of similar calls, showing police were called to the bar almost every weekend for everything ranging from gun shots to public urination and noise complaints.

“I’ve seen it, and I am just not looking forward to this again,” the neighbor said. “I am not trying to be a negative person, but I know how this has worked.”

In July, after two people were shot at the Sky Lounge, Akron police referred to the bar as a “troubled establishment.”

The hearing Friday is happening because Akron’s City Council voted to object to the renewal of the Sky Lounge’s liquor license, which the Ohio Investigative Unit says already holds multiple violations.

The November hearing date was set based on the expiration date of the bar’s liquor license, which the state extended for all bars and restaurants during the pandemic. That’s ultimately what lead to a longer wait for residents.

“It just sounds like what happened this summer, no one has been held accountable for that,” the neighbor said.

19 Investigates tried to reach the owner of the Sky Lounge for comment multiple times, but he has not responded.

The city does have the authority to independently pursue its own nuisance case against the Sky Lounge. Why didn’t they?

Prosecutors tell 19 Investigates they’re waiting to see the outcome of the state hearing on Friday before moving forward with their own case.

We’ll let you know what happens.

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