City of Dover shuts down Irish Mike’s pub

Mayor acts in interest of ‘public safety’

By Craig Anderson and Leann Schenke
Posted 9/16/21

DOVER — Following a “number of incidents in and outside” of Irish Mike’s Olde Towne Pub, the bar has been indefinitely closed, according to Mayor Robin Christiansen.

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City of Dover shuts down Irish Mike’s pub

Mayor acts in interest of ‘public safety’


DOVER — Following a “number of incidents in and outside” of Irish Mike’s Olde Towne Pub, the bar has been indefinitely closed, according to Mayor Robin Christiansen.

On Sept. 10, the pub’s business license was withdrawn and its liquor license suspended.

“We took that action as a matter of public safety — it’s not unprecedented that we pull people’s business licenses and ultimately close them for behavior that’s not what it should be inside and outside these facilities,” Mayor Christiansen said Tuesday.

According to Dover police spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman, “There (has) been conversation between Irish Mike’s management/ownership and city of Dover personnel, to include the police department.”

Over the past few months, Dover police have reported several criminal incidents at Irish Mike’s, at 107 W. Loockerman St. For example, two people were shot during an incident Aug. 14 near the pub, and two arrests followed, police said.

In that shooting, Sgt. Hoffman said “officers were in the area of South Bradford Street and West Loockerman Street to monitor bar closings due to recent incidents involving large crowds in the area.”

According to the spokesman, “Based on the evidence we have, we believe the overwhelming majority of the issues have been the result of Irish Mike’s patrons and those congregating in the area of that business.”

Mayor Christiansen said the Aug. 14 shooting prompted the city to act. He said the business’s owner had been apprised of concerns by several city departments and that he “shouldn’t have been surprised by the action.”

The mayor didn’t have specifics of any contacts but said the city’s police department, Fire Marshal’s Office and code enforcement officers had all communicated with Irish Mike’s management.

The decision to take action was determined at a meeting of city officials Sept. 9. Planning and Inspections Director Dave Hugg said he attended, along with his staff, the mayor, Police Chief Thomas Johnson Jr. and his staff, City Solicitor Nick Rodriguez, Fire Marshal’s Office and code enforcement representatives and a Delaware Alcohol & Tobacco Enforcement officer.

For Irish Mike’s to regain its business license, Mayor Christiansen said the owner will need to attend a hearing scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday before the city’s Department of Planning & Inspection.

The mayor said Irish Mike’s is owned by Kevin Howard, who has legal representation by Sean Lynn of Benton Lynn Law.

If it is determined that the license should be pulled permanently during Monday’s hearing, Mayor Christiansen said the business could further appeal to City Council.

If the council turns Irish Mike’s down, he said the “last resort” would be scheduling a hearing to appeal the withdrawn license with the Kent County Court of Chancery.

According to Lt. Aaron Bonniwell, statewide operations supervisor with DATE, Irish Mike’s business license suspension necessitated its liquor license withdrawal.

“(The city of Dover) notified the alcohol commissioner’s office, and in return, (Irish Mike’s) liquor license was suspended until the time the business license is restated,” he said Thursday.

If the pub’s business license is reinstated, its liquor license will be returned automatically.

From May 14 to Sept. 4, police responded to the Irish Mike’s address 35 times “for calls ranging from miscellaneous service, to burglary alarms, to more serious incidents, such as the fights, assaults, etc.,” Sgt. Hoffman said.

“This does not include addresses or parking lots or other nearby areas, where incidents have occurred that have been connected to Irish Mike’s patrons,” he added.

Police reported at least six arrests connected in some way to Irish Mike’s during that time. More arrests could have been made following further investigation, but Sgt. Hoffman said a total number wasn’t readily available.

According to police, some of the incidents included:

  • May 14 — Domestic incident resulting in fight that ended with one person being stabbed. Later, there was a report of 50 or more subjects fighting.
  • June 6 — Two females involved in an assault (prosecution declined). Police later responded to 12 people fighting and issued one a summons.
  • July 13 — 33-year-old male shot in the leg.
  • July 17 — Suspect arrested after fighting with pub security. Officers used Taser on suspect after resistance.
  • Aug. 5 — Altercation inside the bar, where a male threw a cup at a person. The male suspect was kicked out. Shortly after, the victim and a friend were leaving and assaulted by the male suspect and two unknown females outside the bar.
  • Aug. 10 — Sexual assault inside the bar (currently under investigation).
  • Aug. 14 — Two persons shot, and two arrests later made.
  • Aug. 16 — Serious assault just outside the bar involving patrons. Police were not notified but learned of the incident via social media.
  • Aug. 29 — Large fight, with a subject reportedly displaying a firearm. The crowd fled the scene upon police arrival, and no arrests were made.
  • Sept. 4 — Officers responded to multiple large fights in the area. Crowd dispersed upon police arrival.

On Thursday, Irish Mike’s was listed as “temporarily closed” online.

An Irish Mike’s voicemail box was full Thursday, and no message could be left. Also, a message sent on its Facebook page went unanswered.