Panther Paw faces fine, suspended license

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

Panther Paw Bar and Grill will be subject to a fine of $865 and have its liquor license suspended from July 1 through July 6 following a liquor hearing Thursday.

The hearing was originally set for April 2, but was rescheduled to Thursday.

Panther Paw Bar and Grill was charged in connection with serving alcohol to underage patrons during a failed compliance checks by the Charleston Police Department.

Marty’s and Dirty’s Bar and Grill also failed the compliance checks on Feb. 7.

The evidentiary hearing took place for Panther Paw Bar and Grill because the owner denied the allegations at a liquor hearing Feb. 23.

Marty’s and Dirty’s Bar and Grill both admitted to the allegations.

For all of these establishments, it was their first offense in 12 months.

Allowing patrons under 21 in an establishment with a liquor license violates Charleston city codes, and selling alcohol to minors violates city codes and Illinois compiled statutes.

Rachel Cunningham, the city attorney, said she was engaged in negotiations with the Panther Paw Bar and Grill.

An agreement was reached between Cunningham and those representing the bar.

Kevin Geisler, the attorney representing the Panther Paw Bar and Grill, wrote an affidavit that was signed by Chris Clayton, the owner of the Panther Paw Bar and Grill, who was under oath.

Neither Clayton nor Geisler were present at the hearing.

The affidavit was signed with the intent of avoiding unnecessary litigation.

An affidavit is an official legal document used as evidence confirmed by an oath or affirmation.

Clayton also waived any appeal period for the results of the hearing.

The Panther Paw and Grill would have been able to appeal the mayor’s decision to the State Liquor Commission if they had not waived the appeal period, which would have been 20 days.

Panther Paw Bar and Grill will not be able to serve alcohol during its suspension but will still be able to serve food.

Mayor Larry Rennels said many bars choose to close when their liquor license is suspended, but they do not have to.

“It’s totally up to them,” Rennels said.

The Panther Paw Bar and Grill also allowed people to use their parking lot and facilities for the Fourth of July events and activities going on in the city.


Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]