The Dolores Town Board voted unanimously to renew the liquor license for The River Bar and Grill after the general manager agreed to revamp operations to prevent liquor violations.
The restaurant and bar on the banks of the Dolores River was cited for serving alcohol to a minor in 2018 and 2019 by the Liquor Enforcement Division of the Colorado Department of Revenue. After the 2019 violation, the bar was ordered to close for five days and fines were issued in both cases.
In a letter to the town, Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said his department has responded to calls about liquor violations at The River, including intoxicated drivers leaving the location and reported underage consumption. Verbal warnings have been issued for over serving and serving a visibly intoxicated person.
During a public hearing for the liquor license renewal, The River’s general manager, Debbie Valerio, said policies have been implemented to correct the problems. Valerio was not the staff person who served either minor.
She plans to reorganize the restaurant into a family friendly dinner bar instead of catering to the late night bar scene.
“When the kitchen closes at 9 p.m. so will the bar,” Valerio said. “We will do better. We want it to be family friendly, with more healthy food, for it to be an experience dining on the beach of the river.”
On nights there is a band, the bar will close at 11 p.m. when the music stops, she said.
During public comment, residents on nearby Merritt Way complained of the noise level of live bands. Valerio said she will be more aware of the noise level and bring the bands inside if too loud.
Valerio listed policies and protocols staff will follow, including:
Anyone ordering an alcoholic drink must show a valid ID to ensure proof of legal age.Liquor beverages will be monitored to prevent over pouring, and drinks served will be limited one shot/mixed beverage per hour, and/or 2 beers per hour.Visibly intoxicated persons will not be served, and neither will someone who comes in from another place and is visibly intoxicated. Agreed to sheriff recommendation that all employees involved in alcohol sales go through mandatory Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS). Certificates will be filed with the town and kept at the restaurant.Working with the Sheriff’s Office on protocol for handling situations where an intoxicated person may leave and drive away.“When we opened, we never intended to be a thorn in the community’s side,” Valerio said. “I’m taking my responsibility seriously to be aware of our patrons and general public welfare while in our establishment.”
She added that she lost oversight of the bar while recovering from a motorcycle accident.