I believe the serving of alcohol is the issue. A restaurant can serve food until closing time Christmas Eve or any other time. Last call was at 8pm and Rago came in shortly thereafter, before 8:30pm, and told Champlin to close down and the rest is well documented history. There were people eating dinner in the booths, as I am told, when the officer came in, and although last call drinks were being consumed, no alcohol was served after 8pm according to witnesses.
The history of the R&M and Lloyds up to the time Champlin purchased it nearly 12 years ago, was primarily a "bar business", not a full menu bar/restaurant as it is under Champlin's proprietorship. Had this been a restaurant, lets say like the Essenhaus that doesn't sell alcohol, would this had been such a huge issue? Does this ordinance only apply to the bar trade to shut down because of alcohol, leaving non-alcohol based businesses to freely operate after 8:30pm on Christmas eve? Can grocery stores still sell beer after 8:30pm as well? After all, that implies profits from the sale of alcohol and the subsequent consumption of it. Yes a bit of a stretch, but still a good point of argument.
As stated, it's a local ordinance not a state law and could be subject to challenge and changed if so enacted upon. Perhaps if the PD wasn't so quick to make a point, after considerable research, and entered at, let's say, 8:31pm, perhaps there would have been firmer ground to stand on and just perhaps a few less calls might have been made that night. Just a thought...Gene is now enjoying his retirement and ALL the bars are closed on Christmas Eve for the past few years, so the drama is over and the case is closed...right?
"Never argue with an idiot.They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience!"