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Chamberlain's

Former Husker and major-league pitcher Joba Chamberlain is seeking permission from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission to open a bar at this location in a southwest Lincoln strip mall.

Two drunk-driving cases involving former Husker and Major League Baseball pitcher and Lincoln native Joba Chamberlain have complicated his attempt to open a local pub bearing his name.

Chamberlain, 32, and his business partners will appear before the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission on Wednesday to determine whether their liquor license application should be denied because of the DUI cases, one of which is pending.

That alleged violation had not occurred in April, when Chamberlain and his partners first sought permission to open the bar — which they intend to call Chamberlain's — in the strip mall on the southeast corner of 27th Street and Pine Lake Road.

A Lincoln police spokeswoman said Chamberlain's blood-alcohol content tested at 0.28 percent on May 3, after an officer saw his pickup make an improper turn and cross the center line near 38th and Pine Lake.

He was arrested and charged with aggravated DUI with a prior conviction, and that case is pending in Lancaster County Court.

His previous conviction was in 2008, for which a Lancaster County judge put him on nine months' probation and fined him $400.

Members of the Lincoln City Council knew of both arrests when they unanimously approved a liquor license for Chamberlain's on June 25. However, they did so with the condition that Chamberlain not have any more alcohol-related violations for a year, which must be adopted by the Liquor Control Commission if it also approves the license.

That condition was recommended by Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister.

Chamberlain, who didn't immediately respond to a reporter's request for comment, owns 60 percent of the business, according to a Lincoln police liquor investigation report filed with the City Council.

Co-owners Mike Figueroa and Kevin Blazek also run The N-Zone bar in Lincoln; a third owner, Andrew Ross, runs a bar in Gretna.

Figueroa, who appeared before the council with Chamberlain, said the partners hoped to style the new bar after the previous business at the same location, BarVino.

"We're hoping with our experience we'll make it successful," he said.

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Chamberlain didn't speak during the brief testimony, and while council members often question applicants about recent drunk-driving arrests, they did not ask follow-up questions in this case. 

The license would allow Chamberlain's to sell on- and off-sale beer, wine and spirits at 2801 Pine Lake Road.

Hobert Rupe, executive director of the state Liquor Control Commission, said Tuesday that Chamberlain had notified the commission of the pending DUI charge as it was considering the application.

Ross, however, failed to disclose several traffic violations and a failure to comply with a police officer case from 2006, according to the commission.

Chamberlain, a Lincoln Northeast High School graduate who in 2005 earned Nebraska's only win in the College World Series, spent 10 seasons in the major leagues, winning a World Series championship with the New York Yankees in 2009. 

He retired from baseball in 2017.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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Reporter

Riley Johnson reports on breaking news and public safety issues in Lincoln and southeast Nebraska.

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