Fox San Antonio investigates disturbance complaints at popular North Side bar
SAN ANTONIO - Now a follow up to a story we first told you about last week.
After years of complaints from neighbors about a North Side bar, Fox San Antonio had exclusive details from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that put the hot spot's liquor license in jeopardy.
At the center of the debate are noise complaints and other disturbances.
Fox San Antonio went out during bar ours to see what has neighbors so upset.
At closing time outside Rebar customers spill into parking lots, and streets of residential neighborhoods.
Reporter Darian Trotter asked, "Were you at rebar tonight? Rebar, Rebar. Just went and had a couple of drinks and came out of there," an unidentified customer replied.
That's only part of the problem.
"We're very tired of it," said neighbor John Brenneman.
Neighbors have long complained about loud music, overflow parking, trash and other disturbances.
"On a Friday and Saturday it gets real bad," Brenneman said.
Last week John Brenneman spoke on behalf of 35-property owners currently at odds with Rebar.
They'd just learned they scored a victory.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had finished its investigation and determined their complaints are valid.
Lt. Raul John Brenneman with TABC explained, "Traffic accidents, noise complaints, disturbances, things of that nature."
This past weekend, Fox San Antonio went out after hours ourselves to see if anything has changed.
Right away we noticed a line of parked cars next to a no parking sign, and in front of Brennaman's front door.
Trotter asked, "How does this disturb you and at what time? Well you hear the people pulling in and getting out," Brenneman replied. "But when it's really disturbing is when the bar closes."
In a statement Rebar owners said last week, "The complaints filed against the business are not valid... That they are good neighbors, who've made concessions to address past noise and parking complaints," issued by Greg Bickerstaff.
Bar owners say they've rented space from neighoboring businesses.
Trotter asked a Rebar customer, "Tell me this, why do people park right here? Because there's nowhere else to park actually," he replied.
Bar owners say they've built a 15-foot wall as a sound barrier.
"It doesn't completely knock out the noise," Brenneman said.
Fox San Antonio saw groups of Rebar customers gathering in the parking lot well after the bar had closed at 2 am.
Trotter asked, "Ever seen any fights out here? Oh yes," Brenneman said.
Some groups held loud conversations. Others played loud music as they drove away.
"It doesn't last indefinitely," Brenneman said. "By the time they take action on it they're gone."
The TABC suggests bars use security guards outside to help keep the peace.
"Do their best to try and quash any excessive vehicle noises as far as people running their stereo really loud peeling out in parking lots if they maintain a presence in the parking lot there are ways to work around this," Lt. Raul Salinas explained.
Trotter asked, "Have you ever seen security out here kind of getting people in their car and moving on? Not probably in the last eight years or so."
Neither did we while we were there between 11:30pm and 2:30am in the morning.
Rebar says staffers clean up any and all trash the next morning.
"I seriously doubt that," Brenneman said.
We checked. Rebar has no current code violations on record with the City of San Antonio.
But police have been called out dozens of times.
Within the past two years, there've been 12 disturbance calls some involving guns.
12 vehicle burglaries, 9 assaults, 4 fights and 3 calls where officers had reason enough to stop on their own.
"The people getting out late at night 2 o'clock in the morning, you don't know what's going on people making noise they've had a few drinks and kind of rowdy also," a customer said.
The TABC sent out a notice siding with neighbors and plans to request the bar's renewal application for its liquor licence be refused.
Brenneman says bar owners have since been meeting with neighbors one on one.
"Too little too late, you know, trying to say how concerned he was. Where have you been the last two years," Brenneman said.
We aren't sure of any possible changes rebar may be planning in order to keep its liquor license.
We reached out to rebar owners this week for comment and are still waiting to hear back.
Leaders with the TABC says a court hearing on the issue is pending.
We'll be sure to let you what happens next.