Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Shooting spurs review of bar rules

February 7, 2006


Sometimes, Mike Elwell figures, it's just not worth collecting cover charges and selling drinks to visitors from Topeka.

So he doesn't.

"I don't know what it is about that community, but it seems like a lot of the problems (in Lawrence bars) can be identified with people from Topeka driving over here and bringing their bad habits with them," said Elwell, owner of Abe & Jake's Landing, at Sixth and New Hampshire streets, and former owner of The Granada, 1020 Mass.

On Friday nights, Abe & Jake's often requires that customers have two forms of ID to get in: One establishing age, and another establishing enrollment at Kansas University or Haskell Indian Nations University.

"We've done it before: If you're from Kansas City or Topeka, and you don't have a KU ID, then you have to go home," Elwell said. "I'm not saying it's very fair, most of the time, but when so many problems always come from certain locations, it becomes necessary."

Such policies are on people's minds this week, after a shooting outside the Granada left one man dead and another critically wounded early Sunday morning. As police investigate the crime and elected officials discuss the bar scene's implications on downtown, club owners and employees are left to wonder what responsibilities they have and how much control they wage over who comes downtown and what might happen next.

Jackpot Saloon, a bar and live-music venue at 943 Mass., relies on a single doorman to govern who gets in the place. If there's trouble, bartender Emily Parks said, bartenders are there to help.

She hopes that Sunday's shooting doesn't force any drastic changes.

"It's a concern now that this has happened, but it's strange," said Parker, who's been mixing drinks at the club for a year. "This is Lawrence. If I was a bartender in Wichita or Topeka, it'd be different; I'd constantly be scared. But here, it's Lawrence. It's never even crossed my mind."

The shootings occurred shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday on the sidewalk in front of The Granada, where a hip-hop show had attracted a below-average crowd inside and had prompted the place to close about 1:30 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than usual.

Elwell said that he had talked to Granada owner Mike Logan, and that both had deemed it unlikely that the shootings resulted from anything that happened specifically inside the club.

All Elwell knows is that the man killed, 46-year-old Robert Earl Williams, was from Topeka.

"Nobody wants to read about somebody being shot, or people carrying guns and shooting at each other on the main street," Elwell said. "I mean, Lawrence has been pretty lucky not to have that kind of a situation, but, unfortunately, it seems like an awful lot of the problems that - at least in my view - come to the drinking establishments center on Topeka."


yeah_right 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks. It says because of a below average crowd. I've never heard of that.

dviper 11 years, 11 months ago

So, on a Friday night, Abe & Jake's Landing only allows KU and Haskell college students 21 or older into the bar?

I guess if you're a Lawrence resident 21 or older you are not allowed to enter. Does that make sense? Is that legal?

billybeanbag 11 years, 11 months ago

dviper, I think you're reading too much into it. I think that means if you don't have a KU or HINU ID and you're not from Lawrence, you don't get in.

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