Two local bars hit in liquor raid

A small number of underage drinkers were caught without proper identification this weekend when the New Haven Police Department raided two local establishments, Rudy’s and TK’s American Cafe.

Both Rudy’s and TK’s were visited by the police twice on Friday night and once on Saturday night to determine whether the establishments were abiding by state liquor statutes, employees of both restaurants said. The NHPD has yet to announce the results of the raids, but a TK’s manager who was bartending both nights said no one was caught without proper identification at her restaurant. Though not present during the raids, Rudy’s bartender Jack Petrin said he thought four people were caught drinking underage by the police on Friday, but that no one was apprehended on Saturday.

The NHPD declined to comment Sunday, and it remains unclear as to whether any arrests were made. Employees said the initial raids were, to the best of their knowledge, unexpected.

John Suchy, director of the state’s Liquor Control Commission, said he believed Friday and Saturday nights’ raids were most likely conducted by the police without the LCC.

Manager and bartender Nicole Costabile of TK’s — a sports bar located on College and George streets — said the bar was first raided around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. on Friday, when police checked patrons’ IDs. She said the police then returned around midnight but did not card anyone due to the small number of patrons left in the bar. The bar was subsequently raided Saturday around 11:30 p.m.

Martine Forneret ’08 said she and her friends arrived at Rudy’s, which is located close to the intersection of Elm and Howe streets, in between the first and the second Friday night raids. Some of her friends were turned away by the club’s bouncer, who informed them of the earlier raid.

“He knew they were going to come back,” she said. “So he said it was for your own good.”

Other students also said the bouncer at Rudy’s told them about the earlier raids and about the possibility of the police returning.

Forneret said she left Rudy’s before the second raid, but Allen Bristow ’08 said he was in the back room when the police returned sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 a.m. He said the raid was so calm that he did not even realize it was a raid until his friends asked him about it the next day.

“[The police] weren’t checking IDs or anything; they were standing by the door, and people were leaving,” Bristow said.

Costabile said she thought TK’s would not be penalized because police did not catch anyone underage, and Petrin said he was not aware of any action being taken against Rudy’s.

The outcome of these two raids was markedly less dramatic than other high profile liquor raids in the past few years, including a large-scale raid on Toad’s Place in November 2005, when police found 87 underage patrons in possession of alcohol. A year later, the LCC and Toad’s Place reached a deal in which the nightclub agreed to pay a fine of $90,000 and close for 90 days beginning May 6.

Toad’s had previously been raided in 2001 and was forced to pay $25,000 and close for a week after being cited by the LCC for 12 violations of Connecticut liquor statutes.

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