Lyons restaurant loses business license, has liquor license suspended after several COVID-19 violations

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LYONS, Colo. (KDVR) — The Lyons Board of Trustees voted late Monday night to revoke the business license of Lyons Den Restaurant and Tap House and to suspend the restaurant’s liquor license.

Dozens rallied on Main Street to push for the Lyons Den to stay open, but the town’s Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to revoke the Den’s business license, and suspend its liquor license late Monday night.

Over the weekend, agents from the state’s Liquor Enforcement Division raided all of the Lyons Den’s alcohol for defying public health orders.

“The state entered my private property Saturday night, without a valid warrant, and conducted an unlawful search and seizure of my property, thus violating my 4th amendment rights,” owner Randall Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough made the decision to keep serving guests despite the level red restrictions in Boulder County. The business got several notices for things like failure to enforce face coverings, and allowing indoor dining.

“People just don’t see what they’re doing. A second shutdown will kill this business,” the head bartender said. “It’s sad because it’s Christmas, and they’re taking that away from us, and it’s not fair.”

Yarbrough tells FOX31 that he will be appealing the decision.

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The owners of Lyons Den Restaurant and Tap House are waiting to hear their fate after choosing to continue to serve customers inside their establishment despite the latest public health orders.

Footage shared with FOX31 captures agents in police vests carting out boxes of alcohol from the restaurant Saturday.

“It was a big circus show, they pulled up eight cop cars in front of the restaurant, blocked both entrances, made me stand aside when they cleared my restaurant of patrons,” owner Randall Yarbrough said.

Yarbrough says during this “raid,” state agents served the Lyons Den with a temporary liquor sales suspension.

Colorado Department of Revenue issued the following statement to FOX31 about what happened: 

“The Liquor Enforcement Division (LED) investigates all complaints and violation tips funneled to the division and continues to perform routine checks at liquor licensed establishments. The LED conducts inspections to ensure licensees are in compliance with state and local public health orders. While the division prioritizes education and outreach, businesses could face administrative actions for failure to comply with current regulations.

“After multiple warnings, the LED, in conjunction with the local authorities, issued a summary suspension, a temporary order to stop the sale of alcohol, for the liquor licensed establishment, The Lyons Den, which was in non-compliance with state and local public health orders.

“In conjunction with local authorities, the LED issued the summary suspension and seized all alcohol at The Lyons Den establishment because it had violated, continued to violate, 44-3-901(1)(h), C.R.S. The Liquor Enforcement Division has the administrative powers as the state licensing authority to take administrative actions on licensees who violate public health orders.”

“Eventually we knew it could get to this point, now as far as the seizure of the liquor, no, didn’t expect that,” Yarbrough said. 

A day before Level Red restrictions started, Yarbrough says they made the decision to continue to serve guests inside. “Since march, we’re down probably over 50%, reaching 60% at this point,” Yarbrough said, adding “A second Level Red shut down, we just couldn’t do it.”

Defying orders to stay open has come with a series of visits from the sheriff’s office and a cease and desist from Boulder County Sheriff in November.”

Boulder County Public Health issued this warning of violation to the restaurant on Nov. 25.

The warning stated that the restaurant had violated numerous public health orders including:

  • permitting dining and seating indoors while this activity is prohibited at Level Red
  • failure to enforce the facial covering order
  • serving food and drinks from the bar area while patrons are seated at the bar

Yarbrough tells FOX31 he got an email from the town saying his restaurant’s liquor license was also temporarily suspended starting Nov. 23.

“We truly believe we’re not putting anyone’s health at risk,” Yarbrough said, adding “My sign at the door says it all — if you are sick stay home. Face coverings, your health is your responsibility, it’s plain and simple. We’re not trying to endanger the community or the community’s health, we are just trying to earn a living and pay the rent.” 

In a letter to the town’s mayor, the sheriff explains deputies were called to the Lyons Den multiple days in a row for complaints following level red restrictions. In this letter, the sheriff’s office also suggests the restaurant’s liquor and business licenses should be suspended or revoked. 

“I’ve done my part, I’ve tried to be nice and quite frankly enough is enough,” Yarbrough said, adding “I’m a good guy, I mean well, I support my family,” Yarbrough said. “If they don’t care to know that then maybe they need to see a little tougher side.” 

Yarbrough wants to continue to serve customers inside but is waiting to see what happens at his hearing Monday night.

Dozens of protesters gathered on Main Street in Lyons to support the restaurant on Monday night.

The town’s board of trustees is holding a hearing via Zoom at 7 p.m. to discuss the possibility of a suspension or revocation of the Lyons Den’s liquor license, as well as the status of the restaurant’s business license. 

FOX31 reached out to the town for comment and received the following statement:

“The town does not have a statement to give prior to the public hearings this evening. The Board of Trustees will be considering the summary suspension of their local liquor license as well as the status of their local business license. The individual trustees are not allowed to discuss it prior to the meeting as it is considered a quasi-judicial matter.”

The restaurant’s former owner created a GoFundMe for the Yarbroughs. 

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