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Cincinnati wants Banks bar declared a nuisance, padlocked shut

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Posted at 12:21 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 12:21:13-04

“Galla Park redefines dining and entertainment in The Banks of Cincinnati,” according to the bar’s website. On Nov. 29, 2020, a large-scale brawl among its patrons forced Cincinnati police to shut down the entirety of Joe Nuxhall Way.

The city of Cincinnati now hopes to have the business declared a public nuisance and padlocked shut until 2022, per a complaint filed Tuesday morning in Hamilton County.

The complaint says that in the months before and after the street-clearing fight, police near Galla Park would respond to assaults; monitor threats of gun violence; find treatment for overserved customers who passed out on the pavement; and prosecute workers at Galla Park for serving underage patrons.

In one case, a patron drank so much that police found them vomiting and bleeding from the mouth outside the bar, unable to tell officers what had happened to them. A worker at the bar told police that manager Michael Mercer, who is named personally in the complaint, had instructed him to put the patron outside.

Officers warned owner Mercer on March 16, 2021, that he could lose his business if the chaos continued.

It resumed within a week, according to the city’s complaint. On March 18, a drunk patron started a fight after being kicked out of the bar. On March 21, officers discovered a bartender serving beer to an underage customer.

The city’s complaint argues that Galla Park’s management has been reckless in its operation of the business and that the bar itself “caused the City damage, including increased police, emergency, and corrections costs for responding to and resolving criminal and nuisance activity.”

The complaint seeks a one-year shutdown of Galla Park and fines for its owners.

Galla Park opened at the Banks in 2018; at the time, Mercer promised upscale dining in an iconic spot for the city.

“We are Cincinnati-based and recognize how special that (Joe Nuxhall) corner is, as well as what it takes to resonate with the local customer," he said.