As we all know, downtown St. Louis nightlife has been under a little scrutiny. We at DELUX Magazine are not declaring who is right–nor who is wrong– we just want to shed some light on the situation. This post is to shed some light on all allegations and kill all rumors. Please comment/ St. Louis needs your feedback. SAVE OUR CITY CAMPAIGN.
The following is a letter from Jeff Rainford in Mayor Slay’s office to the downtown stakeholders. He asked that we forward this to our downtown residents and businesses. Feel free to share with your neighbors.
From: Jeff Rainford
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 4:08 PM
Subject: Letter from Jeff Rainford to downtown stakeholders
Keeping our neighborhoods safe is Mayor Slay’s number one job. It is with that in mind that I am writing to update you on what we are doing regarding Downtown nightclubs.
Today, the excise commissioner—who oversees the liquor license process for the City of St. Louis—issued a citation against Lure. The citation is attached. I will explain that process in a moment.
Citations have also been prepared against Sugar and 15. Because those two clubs have been working with the police to address the problems, the commissioner is holding off issuing the citations until he sees what the clubs are willing to do to end the problems. Among other things, the police department wants the clubs to pay to add on-duty police officers to patrol the neighborhood around their establishment on nights when they have large crowds.
How did we end up targeting these three clubs? After the recent shooting, I met with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to ask which Downtown properties were causing the most problems. The police said based on police calls for service and complaints, three night clubs were a neighborhood nuisance—Lure, 15, and Sugar.
I am giving away my age when I tell you that I have never been to those clubs, did not know who the owners were, nor what kind of music they played. Our decisions were based on behavior and no other factor.
So, what happens from here? Regarding 15 and Sugar, the holders of their liquor licenses will meet with the excise commissioner, police department and city counselor in an attempt to put needed changes to protect public safety into writing. If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, the excise commissioner will file a citation. If the two sides come to a written agreement, it will be made public. If the license holder violates the agreement, the City will issue a citation to start the process.
Regarding Lure, the citation in essence lays out a complaint against the liquor license holder. The next step will be a public hearing on Lure’s liquor license. According to the citation, that is scheduled for August 27th at 2:00 pm in room 208 of City Hall. At that hearing, the police will present evidence. Neighbors and others with information on the behavior of the licensee will be allowed to testify. The license holder will be allowed to present evidence as well. Based on the public hearing, the excise commissioner can do nothing, put restrictions on the license, suspend, cancel or revoke the license. The license holder can then appeal to the circuit courts.
While that process is going on, residents and property owners around Lure and Sugar have been collecting signatures on a petition to force the revocation of their liquor licenses. If, after a relatively long and convoluted process, they still have enough signatures, the establishments would lose their liquor licenses.
I had hoped to meet with you in person to deliver this information. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity soon.
Lure Nightclub has been wrongfully targeted as a downtown business that is remotely associated with violence. Lure has been wrongly identified along with other downtown venues as a place where violence occurs. These accusations came from St. Louis city and the media. This is an unfair judgment and classification of Lure Nightclub. The venues that Lure is identified with caters to an under 21 crowd. Lure does not. We cater to the 21 and older adult crowd. The venues we will have been identified with have issues of minors drinking which may or may not contribute to the violence. Lure does not. We have no incidents of anyone being shot, stabbed or killed at or near our club on nights that we were opened for business. Lure prides itself on providing a safe environment for our patrons.
We have been in operation to the general public for over four years (two years as Lucky’s and two years + as Lure Nightclub.) Lure commenced a new promotion geared to patrons in seek of nightlife on a Thursday night which caters to the sounds of hip hop/top 40 fifteen months ago. Throughout the course of the fifteen months of this successful night, more and more African Americans emerged to Lure on Thursdays nights. As more and more patrons attended, complaints from the neighbors/tenants of building followed (such as loud music and smoke.) These are the neighbors/tenants who had previously complained prior to the launch of Thursday night’s promotion.
Lure Nightclub has taken steps to accommodate such issues by lowering our sound system. We have removed the subwoofers near the elevator shaft as well as the rear of building speakers. Therefore, all of the sounds are focused to the center of the room. In addition, we have installed a new panic bar on rear emergency door preventing access to the rear building area.
Lure has limited inside smoking as much as possible by implementing a re-entry policy allowing patrons to take a smoke break and re-enter at no additional fee versus smoking inside the club. We have also assigned smoke breaks to employees who are required to smoke outside the building. We are working with two different companies to install a Smoke Ventilation System.
To prevent any potential altercations, on Thursdays nights (our busiest night of the week,) Lure hires 3 – 4 secondary, uniformed police officers along with 10 – 12 professional security guards (of which some are also off-duty police officers.) The security guards are well-balanced and stationed throughout the club (2 outside, 1 in lobby, 1 in upper and lower VIP sections, 2 in platform VIP section and 3 – 5 patrolling the floor and bars.) This same security/police is staffed during specials events/parties. Friday and Saturdays nights require less security presence as they are not as busy as Thursdays (2 – 3 secondary officers, 1 outside, 1 in lobby, 1 on upper and lower VIP sections, 1 in platform VIP and 2 – 3 patrolling the floor and bars.)
A strong security staff is in play, preventing a problem before it occurs, basically reading the crowd and body language of the patrons. Our police and security staff has been excellent at this thus far, helping the nights run smooth and problem free. The very few times incidents occurred, security defused the situations in seconds. Lure provides precautions from the very start before entry into our club including thorough search outside – pat down outside for men and purse check for women. There is an additional search process once the patrons enter the lobby. If there is an altercation, we release one party first and then the next group 30 minutes later. In addition, we instruct the secondary police to make sure that the patrons leave without any further occurrences.
To assist with the flow of traffic on Washington Avenue, Lure has opened up a turn lane to make a right onto Tucker Blvd (where our Valet is now stationed.) This prevents the overflow of cluttered traffic directly in front of the club. There are also flashing red lights at the traffic signal (between 10p -12a – 3am) to move traffic more swiftly.
Internally, Lure Nightclub has taken the proper measures to address the tenants’ complaints and safety as well as prevent the violence. Lure has established a Gmail account (email@example.com.) This constant email stream will be frequented checked to address the city/residents’ suggestions and concerns.
Listed below are some are some ideas/suggestions in addition to our processes to assist in violence prevention occurring downtown:
- Police presence (bike and car patrol)
- Continue to monitor patrons’ alcohol intake
- Educate individuals on consequence of violence via our STOP the Violence campaign
- Add two more valet personnel at closing hour
- Strengthen our dress code
- Remove nearby food stands
- If an altercation occurs inside, have secondary police walk the parties involved to their vehicles & complete incident form (including info from IDS and license plate numbers)
Lure Nightclub prides itself as one of the elegant downtown venues. We have entertained a wide variety of celebrities at our establishment and wish to continue the success. We will do everything possible to ensure the safety of the residents, patrons and staff and address the concerns of the city.
Thanks for your time!
1204 Washington Ave 63103
(314) 241-LURE (5873)