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City orders safety, security upgrades for troubled Hilltop bar

The bar was the scene of a double homicide in July where four individuals were shot.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The city has secured a preliminary injunction ordering safety and security upgrades at a sports bar in the Hilltop neighborhood.

According to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein’s Office, the injunction was made in the Franklin County Environmental Court on Wednesday in an effort to improve safety conditions at Cain’s Sports Bar, located in the 3400 block of Sullivant Avenue. 

The bar was the scene of a double homicide in July where four individuals were shot. Three more people were injured outside of the location in March 2023 following a fight. 

“Guns and alcohol are a bad mix that turn bar fights into deadly situations,” said Klein. “With violence spilling out into the streets and threatening public safety, it was imperative that the City step in, hold bar owners accountable for this troubling behavior, and make sure they work with the experts at CPD and CFD to improve safety and security for patrons, employees and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The bar owners will be shutting operations down earlier under the terms of a new agreed order, according to a release. They will also be hiring more security and allowing full police and fire security assessments.

Shutting down the bar earlier entails ceasing alcohol sales by 1:30 a.m. and closing the doors by 2 a.m. for the next four weeks. In addition, the owners will be responsible for hiring licensed security or off-duty Columbus officer between the hours of 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday to Sunday. 

"We view our role as identifying the problem spots, shutting them down if necessary, but if there are paths forward together in a collaborative way to find a solution then we're at the table as a quarterback to make that happen," Klein said.

Security staffing levels will then be reassessed one year following the signing of the order. 

“The City is willing to work with owners to improve security, but we won’t hesitate to take appropriate legal action if problems persist or owners are no longer cooperating. It’s a matter of public safety,” said Assistant City Attorney Sarah Pomeroy, the City’s chief attorney assigned to problem bars. 

Officers with the Columbus Division of Police are now authorized to arrest and trespass those who are found loitering after the bar closes and are not employees.

“Neighbors in the Hilltop are rightly concerned about the levels of violence in and around this bar. While this agreement is a step forward, the City’s focus will remain on this bar to see that safety and security are a top priority—or we will take further action,” said Assistant City Attorney Zach Gwin, Zone attorney for the City’s west side neighborhoods, including the Hilltop.

The city will be meeting with the owners of Cain’s ownership on June 29, 2023, for a status conference.

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