Council cancels Taza's liquor license

Posted at 5:27 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-06 21:58:15-05

The Omaha City Council votes unanimously to cancel the liquor license for a bar that was on reality TV and has come under fire.  The owner of Taza Hookah Bar told the city council this summer that they were remodeling and changing the clientele, but the police say otherwise.

The city council voted 6-0 to cancel the liquor license for Taza Hookah Bar located in Downtown Omaha near 15th & Farnam St.

OPD Sergeant Joseph Svacina testified that in the last year there have been 18 radio calls to the bar, and since January 2015 there have been 7 tavern reports filed.  Problems include numerous fights, and crowd disturbances.

Police even showed the council surveillance footage of people blocking the street at 15th & Farnam one evening.

“They create an environment where things go wrong very quickly so the concern we have is safety foremost for the people downtown to the innocent bystanders and people going by the place at night,” Councilman Chris Jerram explained.

Sgt. Svacina also said known gang members were fighting at the bar in June 2016.

Taza’s owner, Jesse Hill, says they've put $20,000 into a remodel and they haven't had any problems since they reopened.  He says the night in question wasn't the bar’s fault.

“We did the remodel and we did everything I told them we would do back in July.  There’s no hard evidence saying those people came out of my bar.  I did everything they asked me to do and we’ll take it up with the state,” Hill described.

Taza had their license renewed one month ago.  Hill will head back to Lincoln for a cancellation hearing with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission.  It's unclear when that will take place.