by Colin Krieger
In the last issue of The Packet (Issue#924), we ran a cover story entitled “Late Night Brawl at Tampico Bay.” The story covered a scuffle between two groups of men and ending in the arrest of one young man. I was contacted by Tampico Bay’s owner, Carlos Rosales, earlier this week. Mr. Rosales felt that the coverage was unfair and said that the article caused him to lose business at the restaurant and bar.
I visited with him on Tuesday and Mr. Rosales told me that he, his family, and his employees have been questioned by numerous people asking if the bar was safe. Mr. Rosales took issue with the article, saying it insinuated that the fight took place inside the bar, and that The Packet was accusing the bar of staying open past legal operating hours. Before I sat down with Mr. Rosales, I researched both his reputation as well as the history of the bar as in relation to police activity. I found that, without exception, Mr. Rosales has a stellar reputation in and around Columbus. An initial search of public records indicated very few incidents in and around the bar in recent years- which would be an indication that the bar is well-known as a safe place to visit. Despite Mr. Rosales’ great reputation and the relatively clean history of the pub, he says his business has been all but crippled by the negative publicity.
I believe the opening of our article last week may have been misinterpreted by some readers, and I’d like to clarify any misconceptions. The article reads as follows: “About 2:00am Sunday morning, after most bars had closed and sent their patrons home, CPD officers responded to Tampico Bay at 1515 College Street for a fight.”
Rosales stated that he was the one who called 911, and that the bar had stopped serving alcohol at 1:30am and completely shut down by 2:00am, as required by law. Rosales also stated that the physical altercation happened outside of the bar, not inside as indicated in the opening sentence.
The intent of the opening line was not to imply the bar was serving alcohol after hours, it was simply a reference point for the time and situation. Tampico Bay is often among the busiest late-night hotspots in Columbus, and most bars shut down far before the mandated 2:00am deadline. The author, John Douglas, and I spend quite a bit of time working the wee hours of the morning and we have both witnessed the pub full of patrons at 1:00am while other bars are nearly empty. I think the large crowds are a testament to the bar- not a negative commentary on the establishment. Police corroborated Rosales’ assertion that the bar shut down on time that night, and I have no reason to doubt it. I can see how the opening sentence did leave itself open to misinterpretation.
Rosales also said he and others close to the bar have had countless encounters in the last week with people asking sarcastic comments about ‘when the next fight is’ and that comments such as that prove that the general public sees the bar as somewhat unsafe. He said that the physical altercation took place across the street –not in the bar, and that The Packet should have stated that fact more clearly in the piece. Rosales said the young men who started the ruckus attempted to enter the bar around 1:45am, and were quickly asked to leave by security guards. He noted that the men did get in a verbal altercation with someone still in the bar paying their tab, but that the physical fight took place across the street shortly after.
The Packet article contained the following regarding the start of the fight: “According to those on hand, Edward started the fight inside the bar, yelling several times, “I’m Edward Jones! I’ll kick your F&%#!%$ as* ! I’m Edward Jones!” When Orties and Berez attempted to leave the bar, the Jones brothers followed them outside and attacked Orties as he tried to get into their car.” The Packet corroborated both the time of the 911 call and the origin of the fight with the Columbus Police Department. The same witnesses on scene that spoke to Police also spoke to The Packet.
I think that Mr. Rosales is being honest with me that he has lost some business. I also firmly believe him that some people in the community have thought twice before going there because of the coverage.
I do not believe, however, that we were unfair in the story. The men did start the verbal portion of the fight inside of the bar, and I think it is somewhat “splitting hairs” to say the fight did not have anything to do with the bar. One of the perils of making a profit off of alcohol late at night is the character of clientele it attracts. I know we did not intend to implicate that the bar was staying open illegally, and the fact that some people chose to see it that way is unfortunate.
Once again, I do believe that Tampico Bay has lost some business because some may see the bar as unsafe in the short term. I think the Rosales family may even choose to move forward with legal action against The Packet for what they see as damaging coverage. I don’t agree that we did anything other than state the facts, and I don’t think the case would even reach a courtroom, but-even if we get sued, I’ll continue to encourage folks to visit the restaurant.
I know The Packet isn’t the “touchy-feely” paper in town. We deliver some hard stuff sometimes. In this case, I think The Packet can make an exception and get a little emotional: I have quite a bit of experience in regards to where to go and where not to go in Columbus after midnight and I can honestly say that Tampico Bay is amongst the most proactive in the city in preventing hooligans from getting into their bar.
I would like to call on the community to think more about the six hard years the Rosales family has put into their business. Carlos Rosales is a family man, a leader in the community and a staunch supporter of CAFB and he deserves some consideration and respect.
Some kids who weren’t even regulars entered his bar for two minutes and started a fight, plain and simple. It could have happened at any bar in town. It is not a regular occurrence at the bar, and it is not representative of the Rosales family or their staff.
Tampico Bay needs some support from The Packet readers. The Rosales family deserves your trust in them to provide a safe atmosphere and they deserve your business.