Tips sent to the Chattanooga Police Department on New Year’s Eve led to two bar checks. Both resulted in violations of the Chattanooga beer code being issued to the businesses.
When Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins and Sergeant Jeff Gaines arrived at JJ’s Lounge, 2208 Glass St. at 12:35 a.m. they found a mini-bar set up in front of the main one. An employee admitted to providing complimentary set-ups and mixing drinks at the temporary bar. That night a $10 cover charge was paid at the door for food and the mixed drinks. The only additional charge was for the purchase of beer.
The owner of JJ’s, Jesse Burgess does not hold a liquor license but does allow brown bagging. That night, the officers found four open bottles of liquor on the mini bar, and several unopened bottles of champagne behind the main bar that Mr. Burgess was offering his to customers.
The mood was festive and it was crowded, said Officer Collins and when the police arrived, they had no interference from Mr. Burgess or the crowd. There were no other problems or violence. The bar has been owned by Mr. Burgess for 17 years and the beer permit had been suspended for the same offense in 2009.
Attorney Doug Cox, representing Mr. Burgess told the beer board that Burgess runs a good business, recognized that he was wrong and asked the board for a reasonable punishment. The motion to suspend the bar’s beer license for five days beginning one week from today was passed on a vote of six to one.
On Jan. 17, acting on another tip that had been emailed to him about a bar that was giving free shots, Office Collins conducted a bar check at Christy’s, 3469 Brainerd Rd. The email showed an advertisement on Facebook for a “Fresh Fridays Promotion” at the business. It had been posted from a promoter hired by the bar.
The owner of the establishment, Jesse McAdoo told the board that he “doesn’t go on Facebook” and did not know that the notice advertised free shots. He explained that each week, the promoter pays him $50 to reserve two tables for one night where he holds his parties that usually have eight to 12 people and each of them pays a $5 cover charge to the bar.
The promoter brings two large bottles of liquor each night he holds a party said Mr. Burgess and he has seen him giving away drinks. This is permitted because of the brown bag status. The owner’s mistake was in handling the bottles, said board member Andre Harriman. Mr. McAdoo took responsibility, saying that when the promoter left two liquor bottles on the bar and went to see if his tables were ready, he had picked them up and moved them behind the bar.
He told the board that in the seven years he has been in business, there have been no other violations. Officer Collins said that Mr. McAdoo has always been extremely co-operative, and a neighborhood representative and frequent patron said he considers the bar a safe place for older clientele and described the owner as a fine man.
Mr. McAdoo was advised to make sure the promoter respects and follows his rules in the future and was given a written reprimand that will be put into the business’ folder.
Terry Thorne, owner of Terry’s Lounge, 4318 6th Ave. has had his beer permit suspended four times since August, 2013 once because of a stabbing and three times due to shots fired. Facing another violation that occurred on Dec. 31, he came to the Tuesday Beer Board meeting with Arvin Reingold as legal representation. The board was told that the owner of the building had revoked his lease, that Mr. Thorne had no place to operate and that he planned to surrender his license.
Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman said the license could not yet be given up until another pending charge was settled. Therefore, this latest violation was given a suspension until the old case is settled at which time the license can be relinquished.
A new business, Sidelines Bar & Grill at 6306 Highway 58, was given approval for a beer license. Because of the current C-2 zoning the bar will be required to close at 11 p.m. In order to stay open later, the owner, Vickie Godfrey will have the ability to apply for a zoning variance, and if received, will need to apply to the Beer Board for the change.