Mathers institutes cover charge to pay for security


After owning a bar most of his adult life, there is one part of the business Tom Mathers still doesn't understand.

"Why some people come out at night just to get into fights, I'll never know," he said. "But, my dad always said, a drunk man's actions are a sober man's thoughts."

Mathers, owner of Mathers Lounge & Cafe at 420 Yampa Ave., recently decided he was finished with the pushing and name-calling.

Enough is enough, he said. He would teach these angry drinkers a lesson he knew they would learn.

Per a new policy, the bar now charges a $2 cover for every person on Fridays and Saturdays.

The money pays for two bouncers to work those nights.

"We're a late-night club, but I don't run a bar for fights," Mathers said. "You're supposed to come down and have fun and relax."

The spate of recent incidents was all too easy for him to remember.

One night, two women started fighting with each other, Mathers said. He tried to break it up, but he had to call the Craig Police Department for assistance.

When law enforcement arrived, one of the women "hauled off and punched the other girl in the face, right in front of the police," Mathers said. "It was the dumbest thing I ever saw in my life."

Another time, one man started yelling and threatening another guy because he ruined his coffee table at home.

"Deal with it at your house, man," Mathers said. "Don't come down here and deal with it."

Other bars don't seem to have the same issues.

Dena Garcia owns Popular Bar & Cafe at 24 W. Victory Way, about a block down an alley from Mathers.

When she and her mother took over the business 27 years ago, they had similar problems, she said, but there aren't many fights now.

"When we first bought this bar, it was a dive and we had a lot of problems," she said.

But the pair cleaned it up by letting people know they meant business. Garcia said they started kicking people out at the first hint of trouble, a practice she keeps alive to this day, even though it has meant losing some customers.

She guessed the number of under-30 drinkers at Mathers' bar added to his problems. Garcia doesn't have the same crowd at Popular, she said.

"I'm sorry, I feel for him," Garcia said.

Mathers said parts of the young crowd are an issue, but they're not the only ones.

"There's so much drama with these kids," he said, shaking his head.

It doesn't help, though, that most of his customers are drunk when they show up, Mathers said. It seems his bar is the last place they go at night, when their buzz is peaking, which wouldn't be a problem if people could hold their liquor.

Jerry DeLong, commander of the Police Department Support Services Division, said he and his fellow officers always are thankful when business owners take proactive steps to minimize public danger.

"If they can help take care of things before they get out of hand, it helps us a lot," DeLong said.

Bill Leonard, Police Department Patrol Division commander, said Mathers does not fall into the department's top 10 response locations.

City law enforcement does not consider the bar a top priority, he said.

Mathers doesn't want to have bouncers or the money, but he feels backed into a corner.

"If people quit fighting, we'll do away with the cover charge and the security," he said.

"It's kind of up to them."


selket42 8 years, 1 month ago

Oh...I thought the Mathers parking lot 'was' the boxing ring!!!!!


xrsareus 8 years, 1 month ago

A quote from the story from Mr. Mathers...."It doesn't help, though, most of his customers are drunk when they show up"

I thought??? bartenders were not suppose to serve people that were drunk. Maybe they need more training. Maybe Mathers serving drunks is part of his problem.


taxslave 8 years, 1 month ago

Let's tax the bars to finance the rec center...they can install a boxing ring.


irishbrat 8 years, 1 month ago

It is a liquor code violation to serve a visibly intoxicated person. It's also a violation to over serve someone. I can personally attest to the fact that this has and does happen at mathers. They don't cut anyone off-they might lose $3 on a beer.


slipknot 8 years, 1 month ago

cease and desist lest ye be stricken by a plague of bleeding from the nostrils and mouth and swelling of the face around the eyes, and bite marks on the ears: that's a joke. They're not supposed to serve a visibly intoxicated person lest they be taxed or punished by fighting or interior damage by fighters. If Tom and Mike think that $2.00 is going to deter the Friday and Saturday crowds from doing battle they're saddly mistaken. A $5.00 cover charge would be more appropriate


freeman 8 years, 1 month ago

i would think as much money as they make off of that bar they would spend a liitle money on the bouncers out of there own pockets seeing how the money they recieved from that drunk person who came there and blew every stinking dollar without knowing they was there and never should have been served in the f-cking first place./........


oldsage 8 years, 1 month ago

That is a classic quote from Mathers!

You know how I have been saying "Don't Talk to the police" well need I say anything more? This quote can be used to show that as a matter of public policy Mather's knowingly continues to serve people who are drunk. Nice.


oldgezzer 8 years, 1 month ago

cover charge or not, the policy there is the mathers law. the staff has no control of who should be served or who should be asked to leave. it is up to the brothers. bartenders are trained but they have no say. many times i have witnessed a bartender attempt to cut someone off and was told they couldnt because they were overruled by the mathers, either because they were a friend of theirs or someone who is dropping alot of cash. and the closer it is to closing time the worse it gets. if some one is a problem the staff is told not to worry about it because they would be closing soon. if they think security is going to solve anything they are only fooling themselves. once the problem goes outside they turn their backs and let whatever happens happen, and maybe call the cops. when there is a problem brought to their attention the guilty party usually talks their way out of it and the staff is told to worry about it. drunks lie and will say anything to keep drinking. then the staff takes the punishment from the drunk that was a problem by being harrased and belittled. its too bad that someone had to die from injuries sustained from an altercation in their bar in order for them to take any kind of stance on the problems that occur in their bar. they let anyone in no matter how much they have had to drink elsewhere. the door person has no control either. if someone is denied at the door, their friend just goes in and talks to mathers and he'll let them in. this evens happens with people who are underage. what about the nights when there is no security or someone working the door. drunks dont care what night of the week it is, they'll fight any night of the week.


irishbrat 8 years, 1 month ago

boy, oldgeezer,,,,you are so right on all that.


buck523 8 years, 1 month ago

I didn't know somebody had died from injuries from a fight in the bar. What happened and how long ago was this?


oldgezzer 8 years, 1 month ago

about a month ago this paper reported a story about the police investigating a suspicious death. the report said her injuries occured as a result of an altercation at a local bar. check the archives on this one. it doesnt mention what bar, but word on the streets points to this one. its still being investigated.


George Robertson 8 years, 1 month ago

The whole point to operating a bar is to make money off of people who drink alcohol, just like a hardware store makes money off of people who build things. It is not the hardware store owners responsibility to ensure that the builders follow code, so why is it the bar owners responsibility to make sure YOU don't drink to much? If your tendency is to drink and get into fights, then it is suggested that YOU don't drink. Take responsibility for your own actions!


lonelyone 8 years, 1 month ago

nimrod, you are so right. No One wants to take responsibility for their own actions anymore. BUT I do believe there is a law on the local books at least that bars are suppose to watch the people who come in and not over serve them. In other words the bar owners and bartenders are suppose to be adult baby sitters. I kind of think when someone gets too drunk at a bar and gets into a fight and someone gets hurt, then the bar and whom ever served them should be ticketed too and held responsible too, but I think there are too many who would not come forward if need be and speak out against the Mathers family nor the Knez family for over serving. I personally have nothing against these bars. I don't go to them very often but because they have been here forever and a day, then we can't cause them any trouble!?!?!?!


misterkindbuds 8 years, 1 month ago

We will see how responsible the Mathers' clown posse is when someone does die from drinking and driving after being overserved.

It will happen.

Maybe the ginger columnist can write an article on that one.


irishbrat 8 years, 1 month ago

No, nimrod...i don't believe i can agree with you on that one. It is the barowners responsibility to make sure their employees do NOT overserve people. Why don't you walk in a bar...any bar and read the legal noctice that they are required to post in sight. It states that it is illegal for them to serve a visibly intoxicated person. Sure it's the patron's responsibility to drink responsibly but who's considered responsible after drinking or while drinking?? I taught TIPS classes for a long time in this area and it was all about teaching servers when to not serve somebody, or when they are over served. It is for the welfare of that person because when they get to that level of not comprehending what they are doing, they are beyond that point of knowing right from wrong. But that sober bartender should know right from wrong. I've been around alcoholics my whole life and i'm sorry but when you compare that to a hardware are way off base. I can't begin to tell you how many people i've cut off through the years, for their own good. Yeah the bars need to make money-but they also need to know when to say enough is enough for drunk ole joe their liquor license worth losing over the $4.00 vokda tonic-which by they way only costs the bar about 30 cents to make...I guess if money is all that matters to them then that's okay with them.


irishbrat 8 years, 1 month ago

lonely..speaking of Knez family, there is no comparison on this topic. Mathers does not cut people off--O.P. does. Delbert & Diane care more about a person's welfare than their bottom line. They don't have a need for security because they are more responsible bar owners- that stand behind their empolyees when cutting off a patron that's had too much. I'm not arguing, just pointing out what i've witnessed.


lonelyone 8 years, 1 month ago

irish, you could be right. as i've said i don't go into those places anymore. I just meant that the Knez name is as big as the Mather's name and I don't think anyone would go against them if push came to shove.


oldgezzer 8 years, 1 month ago

very good points, but like the doctor that over perscribes is responsible for his patient, the bar owner is responsible for over serving. alcohol is a controled substance, and ultimately a bar owner is responsible for what happens in their bar or for what happens later. many times i've seen things happen in a bar that wasnt stopped right away, and it just got worse. training and security are only good as the people that supervise it, and if the bar policy is dictated by the owners it doesnt take long to see which ones are responsible and which ones are not. if they were responsible they wouldnt need security. but now they will just have someone else to point a finger at. so now if something does happen and some gets hurt, its security's fault for not doing their job. the buck gets passed.


irishbrat 8 years ago

good points by all of you guys too.....but unless security is serving the alcohol than they cannot be held responsible. Getting fired by Mathers brothers maybe....but not legally responsible. Lets just hope the security is smart enough to call the police when they need help. I don't hang out there anymore the old broad in the crowd of 20 something year olds....then i get mouthy because they are all rude little punks, then i have to 86 myself.


oldgezzer 8 years ago

they may be smart enough to call the police, but the policy there is to keep the police out of it.


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