3Topia’s alcohol license revoked
Complaints include lack of security, loud noise, loitering
Lake Charles City Council members voted unanimously Wednesday to revoke 3Topia’s alcohol license for two years after hearing several complaints about a lack of security, loud noise and loitering.
The decision was made four months after the council voted 6-1 to place the restaurant and bar at 3800 Ryan St. on probation. The six-month probation called for the business to control its noise levels, add security and close earlier on weekends.
Since opening last June, 3Topia has received numerous complaints, especially from nearby residents. The city’s Alcohol Review Board recommended in April that its alcohol permit be revoked. The board reviewed the issue at a meeting Aug. 9 before it was sent back to the full council.
Lake Charles Police Cpl. Larry Moss said they received 13 calls/complaints after the probation went into effect, including noise, a narcotics arrest and a July 15 altercation in the parking lot that was called in by one of the persons involved.
Moss showed three videos of officers responding to noise complaints, along with a video posted on social media of the altercation.
Several council members told Darrell Bennett, 3Topia owner-operator, that he should have called the police during the July altercation. Bennett said he was afraid to call the police because they would use that against him.
District A Councilwoman Mary Morris criticized the patrons who were involved in the incident.
“This was an opportunity for you to have a place to go,” she told those in the audience who came to support Bennett. “This is not the way to act. We have to be better than that.”
Todd S. Clemons, an attorney representing 3Topia, said four security officers were brought in after the probationary period began. He said it was unfair for police to not let Bennet review videos of the complaints or the altercation before the council meeting.
Clemons added that he couldn’t address the complaints, but said not all of them are always valid.
Tina Latham, a representative of a company Bennett brought in to provide additional security, said music cannot be heard from outside the building. She said music can be heard at Rikenjaks Brewing Co., a restaurant and bar just north of 3Topia. Latham said security escorts patrons walking across Ryan Street to avoid blocking traffic.
“We’re doing the best we can,” she said.
District C Councilman Rodney Geyen said he believes Bennett was trying to follow the stipulations, but he should have informed security about situations like the altercation.
“You knew (police) were going to be watching you,” he said.
District E Councilman Stuart Weatherford said Bennett didn’t do his best to follow the guidelines set by the council. He said the issues with noise, loitering and fighting did not change.
“I think the record speaks for itself,” he said.
Several people addressed the council and shared their concerns about the business. Council President Mark Eckard read a letter from resident Jay Pinfield, a West Oak Lane resident, who called 3Topia “a nuisance to the neighborhood.”
Tracy Slaughter, owner of Elite Vapors, a Ryan Street business, said 3Topia’s patrons have been a nuisance for months. She said Bennett “has been disrespectful toward his neighbors, commercial and residential.”
Chantel Brown told the council that 3Topia’s security did not help her when she was attacked by three women in December. She said she suffered several injuries, including an orbital eye fracture, hearing loss and a dislocated jaw.
“How could you watch a person be beaten to the point where they’re unrecognizable,” Brown asked.
Two victims of the July altercation described how they were attacked, including being hit with jumper cables. Bennett apologized for the incident and said he was willing to put in the work to “change the culture of 3Topia.”
Bennett said other bars in the city have experienced similar incidents without getting as much attention from residents or law enforcement.
“They have incidents that happen at Walmart; we’re not going to shut Walmart down,” he said.
3Topia is located at 3800 Ryan St, Lake Charles.