Big Sur Gets 10 Days Of Beer License Suspension After Police Cite Multiple Problems

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - by Gail Perry

Activity at the bar “75 Sur,” 6175 Airways Blvd., formerly known as La Onda Nightclub & Lounge, got the attention of the Chattanooga Police Department on the night of Oct. 21, leading to citations for over serving and serving beer to a minor. Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins was called that night after three DUI stops were made within 30 minutes, all around the closing time for the bar. All drivers told officers that they had come from 75 Sur.


Investigator Mike Terry and several other officers did a bar check after receiving two complaints that night about juveniles inside the establishment. Bouncers staffed by J. Hall Security, who were at the door, said that IDs had been checked for everyone inside the large space that has a legal capacity of 500. Furthermore, they claimed to mark underage occupants with a large X on both hands. A clicker indicated that 394 people were inside. Officer Terry said the crowd was “body to body,” and he had to wait for a path to be cleared before the police could move through. Chairman of the Chattanooga Beer Board Ron Smith commented that there may be a problem with the capacity that is determined by the fire marshal for safety.


At 2:50 a.m., an ambulance was called for a customer who fell because they were inebriated. When EMS entered with police, they observed several other patrons being assisted by friends and numerous others falling and stumbling around.


At 2:50 the first DUI stop was also made. It took place on Highway 153 and the report said the driver had come from 75 Sur.


Officer Terry returned from inside to the parking lot to help empty it when he saw and followed a car turning onto Lee Highway that “almost took out two telephone poles.” When the driver was stopped, a translator was summoned and the driver was found to have no ID. He also had no large Xs on his hands, but did have a wristband indicating he was 21. He told the officer he was 18. He was taken into custody, and the next morning Officer Terry was told that driver’s age was actually 17.


Then at 3:15 a.m., Officer Terry left to assist Officer Jerry Buchner with a traffic stop on Highway 153. The car was traveling with no lights on, and the driver measured twice the legal limit on a breathalyzer, and told the police he had been drinking at 75 Sur.


The bar’s insurance adjuster, Foad Reveiz, accompanied owner Joel Munoz to the beer board hearing to tell the board that the bar had received reduced premiums because they were doing everything according to the law. He said they were committed to control underage drinking. He said new management had come along with the name change in 2016 to combat problems the bar had in the past. The ownership, however, remained the same, and Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman questioned how that was working since a 17-year-old with no ID had been given a wristband indicating he was 21.


After a stiffer penalty proposed by Board Member Andre Harriman failed to get a second, the bar that is only open on Friday and Saturday nights was given a five-day suspension of the beer license for each of the four violations of over-serving and serving to a minor. That suspension will run Dec. 21 through Jan 10.


The next night, a follow-up bar check resulted in finding another intoxicated person stumbling around to the point they were being helped to walk by a friend. She told Officer Buchner that she had margaritas at 75 Sur. Mr. Harriman said that it is easier to get money from a drunk person, and said that over-serving is pushing alcohol the same way that dealers push drugs. Another five-day suspension was given for this violation which extends the loss of the beer permit until Jan. 16.


One new carry out beer license was approved for a restaurant. Bleu Fox Cheese Shop, 330 E. Main St., opened last Thursday. It specializes in specialty cheeses, cured beef and wine and will also offer beer to take out. The store will be opened seven days a week from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sunday.


Richard Dean, district manager of the western district for Walgreens, came to the Beer Board meeting to get a beer license for area Rite Aid stores that have been purchased by Walgreens. The sale will be effective on Dec. 14. During the next three years, he said, each of the Rite Aid locations will be evaluated and a decision will be made to either keep or flip the stores. After the sale is complete, employees will become employees of Walgreens. The three locations, 6300 Hixson Pike, 2104 McCallie Ave. and 3401 S. Broad St., passed building and health inspections and were approved for carry-out beer permits. The remaining stores are expected to be approved at the next beer board meeting on Dec. 21.


Tienda La Caridad, 6215 Lee Highway, a small Latino grocery store was given a carry-out beer license. The owner John Marin said the store will sell mostly canned and packaged food. Hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday.


Harry’s #41, 2301 4th Ave. which is part of a chain of convenience store numbering around 20 was also approved for a carry-out beer permit.



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