Harrison County

Biloxi seeks option to close downtown bar as ‘public nuisance’

Sideways Sports Bar & Grill in Biloxi on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. The city wants a Chancery Court judge to declare Sideways a public nuisance because of what the Police Department describes as repeated calls for service and violations of the law.
Sideways Sports Bar & Grill in Biloxi on Tuesday, December 27, 2016. The city wants a Chancery Court judge to declare Sideways a public nuisance because of what the Police Department describes as repeated calls for service and violations of the law. amccoy@sunherald.com

A downtown bar managed by Brandi Favre, sister of Pro Football Hall of Famer Brett Favre, is putting residents in physical danger because patrons at the late-night spot have engaged in brawls, discharged a firearm, possessed marijuana and committed other offenses, the city says in a lawsuit seeking permission to close down the business if necessary.

The city is asking Chancery Court Judge Jim Persons to declare Sideways Sports Bar and Grill “a public nuisance” and issue a temporary injunction that also would allow the city to revoke Sideways’ business license.

The city could get a permanent injunction to take enforcement action against the Lameuse Street bar only after a hearing establishes one is needed. Under the permanent injunction, the city wants Persons to order that Sideways post a bond to ensure it abides by all city laws and ordinances.

Sideways is on the second floor of a renovated building just south of City Hall above Fuji Sushi House and next door to Half Shell Oyster House.

The city’s lawsuit says the bar starts getting busy after 11:30 p.m. and operates into the early-morning hours. The bar keeps the Police Department hopping, according to the lawsuit. Because of the pending litigation, Police Chief John Miller would say only, “We’ve had a lot of calls there.”

The lawsuit says residents called police with 133 complaints between July 13 and Nov. 30, with 42 percent of calls resulting in incident reports. More than half of those reports led to arrests, according to the lawsuit.

The city says it is prepared “to show that most significant police response activities were for large fights, assaults, discharging of firearms, disturbing the public peace and similar violent unlawful violations of applicable laws ... ”

The bar also has violated the city’s noise ordinance, the lawsuit says. With all the doors closed at 4:14 a.m. on one occasion in October, noise levels were excessive when measured 144 feet from the building.

Favre also owns Sideways Sports Bar & Grill in Bay St. Louis, where acting Police Chief Wes Mayley says complaints are within the normal range for a bar.

Favre has not yet responded to a Sun Herald voice mail asking for comment on the lawsuit.

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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