The owner of Glass Street Lounge, 2302 Glass St., told the Chattanooga Beer Board that he took full responsibility for a mistake that resulted in suspension of the beer license for his business.
Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins, along with a city building and fire inspector, made a “business check” during the day when the lounge was not open, and owner Tyrone Brumfield was not present. This was in response to a complaint by a neighboring business, Mimi's Mini Mart, and several anonymous phone calls. Complaints from the market were that customers from the lounge were coming next door to use the restrooms.
A citation for needed electrical work was issued during the inspection, and Officer Collins found two liquor bottles behind the counter and another inside an electrical panel box next to the DJ booth. All had been opened and partially used. While the business has a beer license, it does not have an ABC permit. This prohibits the sale or storage of any liquor or wine at the bar. It is permissible, however, to allow “brown-bagging” for customers to bring their own bottle and purchase set-ups.
Mr. Brumfield told the board that he had found two bottles of liquor left at a booth by customers, and had placed, not hidden them in plain sight behind the bar. His mistake was in not disposing of the bottles since having them in the lounge is considered to be storage. He was unaware of the third bottle found sitting inside the electrical panel box until Officer Collins informed him of it.
He also told the board members that the complaints from Mimi's Mini Mart were because he does not use that store as a food source. The Hamilton County Coalition contacted neighbors of the establishment and invited them to speak at the beer board hearing, yet no representative from the neighborhood association appeared.
Board member Christopher Keene addressed Mr. Brumfield saying that he had had a “management breakdown” and that there is no proof that this problem is ongoing. Karl Epperson made a motion to suspend the beer license for five days. Board member Ernestine Haynes responded that the business is only open four days a week. Mr. Keene said the punishment seemed harsh considering the fact that there had been no complaints to the police department in the year that the business has been open. Board member James Hobbs said the board customarily issues a three-day suspension for a first violation and should strive to be consistent.
Mr. Epperson revised his motion to revoke the license for four days, and then reduced it further to three days, which passed on a vote of eight to one. The suspension will begin next Thursday.
The Normal Park PTA will hold its third annual fundraising event called “Fork and Gavel” at Warehouse Row. It will take place from 6-10:30 p.m. on March 1. PTA representative Bill Payne told the board that the Black Tie Affair will be catered. There will be a police officer to check all IDs, and once approved, patrons will be issued wristbands. A special events beer permit was approved.
Bryan Hunter Hart bought out his partner at Brewhaus, 224 Frazier Ave. He now has 100 percent ownership which required him to re-apply for a beer license. This business has been in operation for three years with no problems. Board member Andre Harriman commented, “This is an example of how to run a bar. They card everybody. They follow the beer code.” The vote to issue the beer permit was unanimous.
An application from The Big Chill and Grill, 103 Cherokee Blvd., was postponed until the Feb. 20 Beer Board meeting since no building or fire inspections have yet been made.
Vicki Diane Godfrey, owner of Sidelines Bar and Grill, 6306 Highway 58, was also told to return to the second meeting of the beer board in February. Despite calling the fire department and leaving three phone messages for inspector Pam Williams, she said she received no call back. A beer permit cannot be issued until all inspections have been made and the building has been given an approval.