Liquor licenses expire at Eldridge, Oread hotels; owner Fritzel’s felony convictions may be cause
photo by: Journal-World File Photos
The felony convictions of Lawrence developer Thomas Fritzel may have led to consequences for at least two well-known bars in town.
The bars of the Eldridge Hotel and The Oread hotel — which are owned by Fritzel-led companies — have not been serving alcoholic beverages for several days because they currently do not have liquor licenses.
Men tending bar at both establishments in recent days told a Journal-World reporter that the bars did not have liquor licenses but were in the process of getting new ones. According to a Kansas Department of Revenue database, the Eldridge Hotel’s liquor license expired on Jan. 31 and The Oread’s liquor license expired on Jan. 30.
When asked about the liquor license issue at The Oread, limited partner Todd Sutherland told the Journal-World that Lawrence attorney Mark Emert is “handling that.” Nancy Longhurst, the general manager for both hotels, did not respond to a request for more information. Emert said he couldn’t immediately provide more information.
Some have speculated the bars do not have liquor licenses because Fritzel has been convicted of several felony charges. According to state statute, KSA 41-311, a convicted felon cannot be issued a liquor license.
Fritzel did not answer a call from the Journal-World on Tuesday.
Zachary Fletcher, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Revenue, said the state statute means a company owned by a person convicted of a felony cannot be issued a liquor license. He also said the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control can revoke a license from a company if its owner is convicted of a felony.
In July 2019, a jury in federal court convicted Fritzel of illegally disposing of asbestos-containing material while doing remodeling work at Alvamar Country Club, which is now known as The Jayhawk Club, in 2016.
He was found guilty on all three counts of which he was charged: knowingly failing to notify environmental agencies prior to removing asbestos material, knowingly failing to wet asbestos before removing it from a construction site and knowingly failing to dispose of asbestos waste in leak-tight containers.
Additionally, Fritzel recently pleaded guilty to a separate federal charge of criminal conspiracy. In that case, Fritzel admitted that he and others submitted false monthly sales tax returns to the state of Kansas related to the development of The Oread hotel.
Fritzel is facing prison time for both cases.
The Eldridge and Oread hotels are both well known for their house bars and restaurants.
The Eldridge operates its Eldridge House Grille and Jayhawker Bar, which was renovated in late 2018. It also includes the All American Bar, which features higher-end drinks.
The Oread operates the Bird Dog Bar, a bar and grill on the hotel’s main floor. It also includes a rooftop bar known as The Nest on Ninth, which overlooks the University of Kansas campus and parts of Lawrence. An online listing of liquor licenses shows The Cave, a large bar located in the basement of The Oread, still has an active liquor license.
The Journal-World attempted to confirm whether The Jayhawk Club was serving alcohol. When asked whether the club was still serving alcohol, an employee referred the question to a manager, who did not return a phone call from the Journal-World.
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