SEBASTIAN – Earl’s Hideaway Lounge was the first Sebastian bar to ban motorcycle club colors and vests, and now there’s more.
Several Sebastian bars have decided to do the same, not allowing bikers with vests or colors into their businesses.
There was a rumor going around town that the Sebastian Police Department was forcing local businesses to comply with these measures. We found out this today that rumor is false.
“It is certainly not our (Sebastian PD) place to dictate to you, or any other business, what to say or how to present it. Also, we have never, nor will we ever demand, require or direct any business of any type, on how to conduct business other than that required of the laws and ordinances enacted by the governing legislatures (Florida Legislature, City Council), particularly as it relates to Constitutional rights. When asked, we only make unbiased recommendations regarding security and safety, with no endorsement of any particular entity or service provider,” Sebastian Police Commander John Blackledge told Sebastian Daily. “We have NOT required any business on restrictions of who to permit in or set ‘dress codes.’ That is the exclusive right of the business owner.”
However, other law enforcement officials did share some intel with local bar owners about recent events that took place at other bars. They were, in fact, gang related and that these “gangs” were coming into Sebastian to plan and instigate problems.
Bar owners tell us that the police are not forcing or putting pressure on them to comply with any rules.
Unfortunately for some, the new bans have upset other clubs, such as Veterans and off-duty police who like to show their motorcycle colors and vests.
“Not all clubs are bad. There are several that are law abiding, military Veteran and some that are law enforcement based,” a local biker, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Sebastian Daily. “If there are problems with certain individuals why don’t they do their jobs and enforce the laws of the state and not discriminate on the others?”
And there are great motorcycle clubs in Sebastian that are non-violent, legitimate, and serve a better purpose. But then bar owners are faced with a decision to allow some, but not everyone.
“From our standpoint as bar owners, we can’t ban one club from wearing a vest and allow another. It becomes too messy. Nobody is being discriminated against or refused service,” Tiki Bar & Grill owner John Campbell told us.
Law enforcement sources tell us that stripping the gangs of their vests and “colors” reduces the pack mentality and violent outbreaks.
Most people we talk to in Sebastian agree with Earl’s and other bars with these rule changes. Some people quit going to some of the local establishments because of the gang-related incidents.
The new rule changes are bringing in more people. Residents in Sebastian and Vero Beach visit the local establishments to have a great time with family and friends.
“Why would anyone in this beautiful town want to hang out with violent bikers who don’t live here,” one Earl’s patron told us. “We can do without them.”