Earlier this month the police shuttered Rob Shamlian's two LES spots Los Feliz and Mason Dixon, citing underage drinking. Los Feliz reopened this weekend and Mason Dixon is expected to reopen soon, but their shutterings have brought new attention to the dramatically increased police presence in the area of late. Bar owners are claiming conspiracy ("There is something amiss when a restaurant with great food, great relationships with the neighbors, no noise complaints, and a responsible policy toward underage drinking gets shut down."), and recent statements from the number two at the 7th Precinct, while denying a conspiracy, certainly should give bar owners pause.

Last Wednesday Captain David Miller spoke about the issue at a Community Council meeting. Coming from Chelsea—which has had deadly nightlife problems—Miller is acutely aware of "why we all have to work as a community to make sure things like this don’t happen," and that is at the heart of the recent crackdown.

To those bars that say they couldn't have underage drinkers since they have bouncers, Miller disagrees. They may have bouncers, but their bouncers are being bribed: "We actually had an establishment where the bouncers would know the individuals were underage. They say, ‘come here, it’s okay. Give me $20 and you can come in.'"

And to the bars that say they are being shut down without any warning during busy Friday nights, Miller flat out calls BS:

No bar owner who’s ever had a problem can tell you I did not walk in there first and talk with them personally. It’s a two prong approach. I sit down and talk with them, to try to rectify the problems… We have one location now that was supposedly a restaurant. They decided to throw out their kitchen, for lack of a better term… They’re supposed to be closed at 12 o’clock… the SLA (State Liquor Authority) is now involved. They’re either going to change back to what they originally promised or they’re not going to be operating as a business anymore… I went there personally to talk to the owner and he basically told me, ‘write me a summons and get out.’ So I understand there are owners like that who are just going to try to make as much money as they can. That’s not the majority of the owners. It’s 3% at the most.

In no way though is the crackdown going to cease. Miller and the po-po don't want "Mardi Gras situation down here." All of which is to say, LES bar owners? Be prepared, the police are watching.