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Spencer Bar Owner Denied Liquor License Renewal

Spencer, Iowa — An administrative law judge has affirmed the City of Spencer’s decision to refuse to renew the liquor license of a “gentlemen’s steakhouse” accused of serving alcohol to underage and intoxicated customers, as well as an underage employee.

In June, Spencer officials denied the Southside Grill’s application to renew its liquor license. The administrative law judge has ruled the city was “justified in concluding the licensee lacks the requisite good moral character to hold a liquor license.”

Spencer Police indicate that over a two-week period, an 18-year-old employee was being served alcohol every day she worked. According to police, the woman says the bar’s owner, Chris Burg, knew she was not 21. Burg has denied the accusation.

The business has been under investigation since a late April car wreck that killed a 21-year-old from Estherville and a 19-year-old from Graettinger who had been drinking at the bar. Police say video from the bar shows employees made no effort to check IDs before serving alcohol that night, although it is not clear from the video that the 19-year-old driver was “visibly impaired.”

Police say video from the business shows it also has violated a state law which forbids performers from showing certain naked body parts to customers.

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