NEWPORT – Griff’s Pub announced on Facebook that it is closing its doors on Main Street in Newport Monday at midnight.
The Newport City Council did not renew the pub’s beer and wine license, which expires May 1.
Recent allegations of criminal activities inside the bar have led to charges and an investigation by the Vermont Department of Liquor Control. A woman alleges that she was raped in the bathroom of the bar and now a young man is facing charges in criminal court.
A group of witnesses, including at least one of Griff’s employees, allegedly videotaped the incident. Audio and video tapes reportedly indicate some people cheering for the man, and others telling him, including the purported victim, to stop.
Bill Davies, attorney for Newport City, recommended that the city council not renew the beer and wine license. The council decided to wait for the state’s decision on a liquor license before considering to renew the license with or without conditions.
The pub is owned by brothers Dan and David Griffith, and Nancy Griffith.
“The Newport City Council has opted not to renew our annual beer and wine license, effectively putting us out of business and eliminating 10 plus jobs in downtown Newport,” Griff’s states on its Facebook page.
“The City's Chief of Police and Lawyer (who coincidentally was also the lawyer for the landlord that threw us out of our Derby location) recommended that our license be revoked…”
The business was formerly located on the Derby Road.
Newport City Council member Denis Chenette in a recent interview said that Griff’s statement blaming the council is not true. “I don’t think they want to go through with the hearing process,” Chenette said.
“We are not in the business of putting businesses out of business,” Chenette said.
The statement by Griff’s goes on to apologize to customers and to thank everyone who ever came to the business or helped them in any way.
Griff’s is the second local bar to close in the last few weeks. Lo’s Tavern, formerly on the Derby Road, closed a few weeks ago. The owner of Lo’s, Lauri Kelly, moved out of the area and had been commuting. She decided to call it quits after 18 years in the business.