Chattanooga Beer Board Grants 3 Licenses At Thursday Meeting

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - by Gail Perry

A beer permit was given to a business Thursday by the Chattanooga Beer Board, which had violated a condition of the beer and city codes from May until mid-December of 2013. At the Dec. 19 meeting of the Beer Board, it was discovered that John Shoemaker, owner of Steelpan, at 825 Houston St. had been selling beer under the license of the previous owner of the restaurant. An ownership change requires the new proprietor to get a new permit. Mr. Shoemaker had neglected to do so, blaming it on procrastination.  

At that time, Mr. Shoemaker surrendered the invalid license, closed and reorganized the business. The violation has now been settled in city court. Re-opening depends on being approved for a beer license, he told the beer board. Part of the reorganization, involved getting a second investor who will also manage the business. The actual transaction was also dependent on the outcome of the beer license application. 

Because the location is in close proximity to the UTC campus, board members were concerned with underage drinking. As the business grows Mr. Shoemaker has plans to hire a security guard for the door to check IDs instead of depending on the bartender, he told the board. He also said a security camera system has been purchased because there are many entry ways into the building. Because smoking will be allowed, he acknowledged that no one under the age of 21 will be allowed inside the restaurant or bar.  

Steelpan is a Caribbean themed restaurant that will serve sandwiches, pizza, jerk chicken and rice. There is a bar downstairs that will serve beer and specialty rum drinks along with other spirits, said Mr. Shoemaker. A license to sell beer was given to the restructured restaurant, with the condition that if the new investor owns over five percent of the business another application must be made so a background check can be done.  

A second revamped business was also given a license to sell beer after problems at the location in the past. Shawan Hixson, the new owner of Steppin’ Out Pub and Grill, 4249 Shallowford Road, told the Beer Board members that she has changed the model for the business which she described as a place to network, meet friends and watch games. Hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs and sandwiches will be served. The hours of operation will now be from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday and will be open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. 

Robert Shrine, representative from the North Brainerd community council made up of seven neighborhoods spoke of concerns about the abundance of businesses selling beer in the area, and of problems encountered at that location in the past. Charles Peacock is the owner of the building who will now be managing the business for the new owner, but Ms. Hixson is the sole proprietor. Both told the board that it is considered a restaurant type of business that will have no music or interest for “gang bangers.” The closing hours are earlier than before because the owner does not want to be open when other clubs close to prevent people from coming after hours. 

It is hoped that the previous problem of blocking traffic on Shallowford Road, which is now a four-lane highway, will be eliminated by closing earlier than it did in the past. That, along with the minimum age requirement of being 21 is meant to discourage the location from being considered a hang-out. 

Steppin’Out was approved for a beer license by a vote of six to one, with Chairman Phillip Sallee casting the negative vote.  

A new specialty shop, Sigler’s Craft Beer and Cigars, 1309 Panorama Dr. located off of East Brainerd Road, was issued a license to sell carry-out beer. This is a family business that will offer 300-400 varieties of craft beer in bottles. There will also be a growler station where the bottles will be sealed before leaving the store. Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. six days a week. 

Because of an ownership change, Happy Mart, 5701 Brainerd Road, applied for and received a new beer permit. This is a convenience store that will be open from 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week. 



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