CLEVELAND - A popular west side gay lounge is firing back after it received a nuisance letter from the City of Cleveland. This comes after the lounge experienced two alleged hate crimes recently.
"This is a fight that I'm not going to let lie at all," said James Foster, manager at Cocktails Lounge at Detroit and West 93 rd Street.
The city sent Cocktails Lounge the letter last week saying police have been dispatched to the location nine times over the past year. It added that repeated calls burden taxpayers, and the city requested an action plan from management to eliminate the problems.
Last month, a group of people attacked a gay man heading into the lounge. Then, last Friday, another man was attacked.
"It's frustrating, disturbing and appalling," said Foster.
Foster said what's most frustrating is that the majority of those police calls didn't have to do with the lounge itself. Instead, managers and patrons called about incidents happening near the lounge.
"It's your neighborhood bar, everybody knows everybody, everybody's got nicknames," said Mary Wishar, a regular at Cocktails who describes the lounge as friendly and safe.
NewsChannel5 reached out to the city for more explanation about the letter. It received a statement in response. It said the timing of the letter was an unfortunate coincidence and police got called to the lounge for a variety of complaints.
Those complaints did not include the alleged hate crimes. It went on to say that it's rescinding its letter to the lounge and instead, the district commander and property owners will meet to address the issues.
Regardless, Foster said he won't hesitate to call police to keep his community safe.
"It's about protecting those young kids, a woman and her child," he said. "It could have been them that were assaulted."