State shuts down Cooper Street | AspenTimes.com
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State shuts down Cooper Street

John Colson

Cooper Street Pier, one of Aspen’s venerable bars, closed Tuesday after state authorities suspended its liquor license.There is no indication on a sign on the glass windows at the front of the bar whether the closure is temporary, nor any information about the nature of the liquor code violations that lead to the suspension.Manager Charles Wolf, in a voicemail message Wednesday afternoon, said the closure was related to a massive drug bust on Dec. 2, when more than 50 local, state and federal law enforcement agents swept into Cooper Street and its neighbor across the alley, Little Annie’s Eating House.Agents and police officers arrested more than 20 suspects, some on drug charges and some for immigration and other alleged violations. Many of those cases are working their way through the local courts.Wolf said the state closed his bar down “because an undercover drug agent made 10 drug buys in Cooper Street” last year, during the investigation that led to the raids. He gave no other details about the closure or the state’s reasoning for its action. Attempts to contact state liquor authorities were unsuccessful late Wednesday.Wolf also said he was leaving town, and he could not be reached for comment late Wednesday. Wolf had been planning to close the bar down later this summer anyway because it is to be redeveloped. But the exact date of its final day of business had not been released.According to accountant Mike Otte, who is acting as spokesman for the owners of Little Annie’s Eating House, there has been no word from the state that Annie’s liquor license might be in jeopardy.”I just drove by Little Annie’s, and we’re still open for business,” he said. “We’ll just take it day by day.”According to members of Aspen’s liquor licensing authority, local officials had no advance warning of the closure.City liquor board Chairman Bill Murphy said Wednesday night that the Aspen liquor board had no notice of the suspension of Cooper Street’s license, although late last year the local board specifically asked to be kept informed of any pending proceedings by the state Department of Revenue against the two restaurants busted in the raids.”I’m a little miffed,” said liquor board member Gary Essary, who made the motion to request keeping the local liquor board informed.Aspen Police Chief Loren Ryerson said the state had worked out an “agreement” with Wolf on suspending Cooper Street’s license over the liquor code violations, but he said he had no details about the agreement.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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