Coyote Jacks Saloon, 1401 Cowart St., was scheduled to have a hearing at the Chattanooga Beer Board Thursday morning for the second beer code violation in 2017. The bar was given a two-week pass because their attorney was out of town. This hearing for serving beer after 3 a.m. on Saturday night, Dec. 30, will take place at the next beer board meeting on Feb. 1.
“There is serious stuff going on there,” said Beer Board Member Christopher Keene. He was concerned that the business would be allowed to operate for the next two weeks just because the attorney could not show up. He said, "I hope nothing happens there during that time (of the continuation)."
In September 2017, the bar/restaurant was given a three-day suspension of its beer license for serving beer to an incapacitated person. Another big concern is that there have been multiple shootings outside the bar involving customers who have been leaving business. The establishment was formerly named Bella Vita, with the same owners as now. During that time, two shootings took place - one in March 2016 and another two months later when a security guard was fatally shot.
A second fatal shooting took place on Dec. 17, 2017, when Sherone Porter was killed on Cowart Street, just outside of the bar. Unrelated to the upcoming violation hearing, at the beer board meeting Thursday morning, Sherone Porter’s sister and another friend spoke, both asking for the bar to be shut down.
Sharee James, sister of Sherone Porter, said that her brother was just 22, had no gang ties, and was getting ready to go to college. She said he was leaving Coyote Jacks around 2:40 a.m. when there was an altercation with another group of people also leaving the bar, and her older brother Torrie Porter was shot in the leg. Then Sherone tried to intervene and was shot and killed. She said that her brothers were only there to have a good time. “I want the place closed down,” she told the board.
Torrie Porter’s girlfriend, Jayda Mayhue, also told the board that the place should be closed. She was with the two brothers the night of the shooting. She said that another friend with them was 18 and under the legal age to be served alcohol. Ms. Mayhue said this person goes to Cayote Jacks all the time. If you know the right security guard, they will let in underage patrons, she said.
Another audience member, Sherman Byrd, who has owned multiple bars around Chattanooga in the past and is attempting to open another on Honest Drive off of Brainerd Road, spoke to the board. “I’ve been on both sides," he said, having lost someone to a shooting, but fortunately, not at a bar that he has owned. Hiring good people is his solution to eliminating underage and over-serving customers. “It’s a two-edged sword,” he said. Somebody who is underage and gets into a bar needs to be held responsible too, adding that “I hate to see a man lose his license.”
Two businesses were approved for new beer permits at the Thursday meeting. Rose Cox, owner of The Palace Theater, 818 Georgia Ave., has bought out her former partner. Because of the ownership and name change for the business that previously was known as The Palace Picture House, a new beer license was required.
Ravinaben Chaudhari was also given a carry-out beer license for the Stop-N-Save at 2121 E. 23rd St., a convenience store that she recently bought. The store has operated for a long time without any violations, said the manager who was the interpreter on behalf of the owner.
Special events beer licenses were given for two upcoming fundraisers. Catherine Fowlkes, representing Make-A-Wish East Tennessee, was approved for the license for “Wish Bowl XVI.” It will take place on Feb.4 from 5-10 p.m. at Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St. She told the board this will be the 14th year for the Super Bowl party that will raise funds for Make-A-Wish, sponsored this year by EPB. The party will be catered and will have both a live and silent auction. The organizers are expecting to have a crowd of 200-250.
“Pink! A Pre-Party” on behalf of Memorial Hospital was represented by Christine Willingham who was approved for a special event beer permit for the catered affair. This will be a party on Jan. 25, from 5:30-11 p.m., honoring all the VIP sponsors, and will be held at the Turnbull event hall, 1401 Fort St. The main party “Pink!” will be on the following weekend.