Bar brawls: The bars around campus with the most fights
Patrons of O’Malley’s Bar & Grill play pool to pass the time.O’Malley’s Bar and Grill has been open since 1993, according to its Facebook.
Most University of Arizona students are aware of the vibrant bar scene near campus and most have probably seen or heard of a bar fight or two.
Autumn Dominguez, an employee at The Castalian Spring, said college students are an important part of the bar’s customer base. Dominguez said about 80% of the bar’s customers are college students.
Dominguez said it’s great to have college students as the majority of The Castalian Spring’s customer’s because they bring a fun and vibrant energy to the bar.
College-age customers can bring some challenges as sometimes they are new to being away from home and still figuring out their independence, Dominguez said.
Garret Raetzman, the owner of Frog & Firkin, said while their age range depends on the day of the week, half of their customer base is usually made up of college students.
Raetzman said college students that come to Frog & Firkin don’t give him any more problems than customers of other ages. He said that he’s found college students to be like any other aged customer when treated with respect.
“In spite of their age, which would be that indicator for most that they’re going to be trouble, in many cases, they don’t act like young kids,” Raetzman said. “They’re polite, mature. They’re responsible. It’s kind of nice.”
Unfortunately, too often alcohol and bars are correlated with acts of violence.
According to 911 call and case records from the Tucson Police Department from 2017 and 2019, of thirty bars located near the university and the downtown area, most of the violent incidents listed in the records were fights and assaults.
The three Fourth Avenue bars with the most 911 calls and cases of violent incidents were IBT’s, O’Malleys Bar & Grill and the Hut, according to TPD records.
The Hut had 18 total cases and 39 total 911 calls. IBT’s had 19 total cases and 44 total 911 calls. O’Malleys Bar & Grill had 27 total cases and 59 total 911 calls.
Bella Corral, an employee at Insomnia Cookies, which is located on Congress Street near multiple bars downtown, said they think they have seen usually at least two bar fights every night they have worked. They said that on average, they see 15 bar fights a month while working.
If The Castalian Spring has any altercations, it is usually because of their location in the downtown area, Dominguez said.
University Boulevard tends to have some older aged locals who sometimes stir trouble throughout the area, Dominguez said.
Corral said that the most hectic fight they almost got caught in was when three guys were fighting in front of the bathrooms outside, but Corral got away by moving along the wall.
Corral said the constant bar fights, which are so close to the shop, occasionally make them feel unsafe.
“We definitely have police phone numbers on call and security numbers since the parking garage is right there and there’s usually cops that come pretty quickly,” Corral said.
According to TPD Officer Ray Smith, officers arrive to the scene where the fight happened and question any witnesses.
If neither people involved in the fight claim to be a victim, there is little the police can do, but if someone involved does claim victimhood, the other is charged and may be cited or go to jail, Smith said.
The bar could also claim to be a victim if any property was damaged or if a bouncer was involved in a fight, Smith said.
According to Corral, the people who usually start fights are most often men of mixed ages. They said they’ve also seen some fights involving women, but not as often as those with men.
“They’re usually always drunk,” Corral said. “I can’t remember a sober fight happening in front at night.”
Raetzman said that he thinks that there is a connection between how customers are treated in bars and how many incidents a bar may have.
“I’ve been in this industry for 40 years, but one thing that I’ve seen that has never changed is this aspect of it. In the sense of it, when you treat people as you would like to be treated, you have very few issues,” Raetzman said.
Both Raetzman and Dominguez had advice for college students on how to be safe in bars.
Raetzman said that no matter when or where they are, they should be aware of what is going on around them. He said students should be tracking who is around them so they know if someone is following them and to keep tabs on their drink.
“I would just say be safe of your surroundings and be cautious when opening up to people and especially people who are very drunk,” Dominguez said. “Keep an eye on your drink, keep an eye on their behavior and their body language.”
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