EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Loud music emanating from Rockin’ Cigar Bar in the Cincinnati Entertainment District is leading some people who live nearby to question if the bar is operating while it is supposed to be closed.
Owner Frank Ricci, Jr., however, said the music doesn’t mean there’s anyone inside, adding that he leaves the music on for security reasons.
“You want people to think you’re there whether you’re there or not,” he Ricci.
The TABC suspended Rockin’ Cigar Bar’s liquor license in August for not complying with COVID-19 compliance rules.
But, John Byrd, president of the Kern Place Neighborhood Association, said he keeps getting complaints from residents.
“Since (August), the neighborhood association has received several notices from residents, including today, that they were still operating,” Byrd said.
He said the reports just keep coming as the loud music from inside continues.
“We hear lots of music from inside the bar and people have reported seeing people going in and out,” said Byrd.
Ricci said the loud music has drawn a lot of attention to the bar since the license was suspended.
“We’re not doing any speakeasy,” he said.
“We’ve had a number of police and TABC agents that have called me down to make sure that no one is in here,” said Ricci. “And I’ve opened the door for them and there’s never been anyone inside.”
As for the people being seen going in out, he said it’s employees or him and his wife.
“There’s been nights where my wife and myself will stand out here and drink a beer and look at what’s going on, on the street and look forward to the day that we actually get to open,” he said.
Ricci said the bar will remain closed until it’s allowed to reopen in mid-October.
However, Byrd said TABC should do more to make sure Rockin’ Cigar Bar isn’t violating its suspension.