Jay's On Wilder Street Gets 9-Day Beer Suspension After Owner Rented Out Club For Party

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - by Gail Perry

After hearing violations that occurred at Jay’s at 1914 Wilder St., the Chattanooga Beer Board on Thursday issued a nine-day suspension of the establishment’s beer license. 

On the night of June 29, the owner, Johna Douglas, allowed a regular customer to rent the bar for a birthday party. Jay’s sells only beer and does not have a permit to sell liquor or wine. The club does, however, provide set-ups and glasses with ice and allows customers to “brown-bag”, Ms. Douglas explained.

She was present when the party started at around 9 p.m. and saw alcohol and coolers filled with wine that was brought by the customers. She left the building with her husband in charge at the door and a friend selling set-ups and did not return until closing time at 3 a.m. When she arrived the party was still in progress with around 50-60 people still drinking. Ms. Douglas denied that anything was served after 3 a.m., which is the mandatory closing time specified by the beer code. However, people attending the party had brought their own beverages and, when Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins arrived at 3:18 a.m., he observed beer and liquor still on the tables and no one preparing to leave.

Officer Collins told the board that extremely loud music obscured his banging on the door, and the number of people in the building was well over the allowed occupancy number of 38. Without having a liquor license, it is an offense to have alcohol stored behind the bar, but Officer Collins found wine that was inside refrigerators owned by Jay’s.

From the photographs that were taken at the scene and shown as evidence, board member Forestine Haynes commented that the amount of alcohol sitting around went beyond “brown-bagging.” Speaking to Ms. Douglas, board member Phillip Sallee said that the beer license that she has is her livelihood, yet she trusted it to a person she did not know. He added that showed tremendous irresponsibility. Andre Harriman said the responses he heard from Ms. Douglas seemed like a complete disregard of the beer code with a lot of excuses. He made a motion for the suspension.

A unanimous vote followed, which suspended the beer permit on three consecutive Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Aug. 23 through Sept. 8.

In other business, the beer board gave a special events license to Ruby Falls at 1720 South Scenic Highway. Beginning on Labor Day weekend, and running through Sunday, Sept. 29, Ruby Falls will offer a salute to football by providing television screens on the deck as a value added benefit for customers after they have toured the cave. Special Events Coordinator Hollie Baranick said this is not a big draw, but is appreciated by its customers who will be able to order a beer to go with their food.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café was approved for a consumer license for two locations. The focus of this restaurant is to the lunch crowd during the day and to families in the evening. The original location is at 432 Market St. and the new one is at 2020 Gunbarrel Road in the Dick’s Sporting Goods shopping center. They both open at 11 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. every day.

La Casita Max Latino’s at 6312 Bonny Oaks Dr., which is described as a small restaurant, was approved for a license to allow beer sales to accompany food. The hours of operation are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Mondays, and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. on Tuesday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday it will close at midnight. Hours are from 1-7 p.m. on Sunday. 


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