The Beer Board on Thursday heard testimony about issues at the Urban Grind, 2193 Park Drive.
Chattanooga Police responded to a report of overcrowding at the location on June 23. The building is divided into two spaces by a firewall. One side was designed to be for renting out for group functions with the capacity of 99 determined by the Chattanooga fire marshal and the other side as a restaurant/bar with the capacity of 49.
The two spaces are separated by a hallway with shared bathrooms used by both sides. The entrance for both sides is through the Urban Grind, and doors into the hall remain open at all times.
The open doors into both rooms allowed for patrons to move from one side to the other taking beer along with them which led to the charge of overcrowding. Owner Tommy Woods received a beer permit only for the part of the building where Urban Grind is located. The “assembly room,” has no beer license so it cannot be sold, served or consumed in that room. Police did observe beer bought in Urban Grind and taken into the meeting room the night of the bar check.
A security film from the business proved that the charge of overcrowding was not valid. The charge should have been for the violation of “use of premises,” said Beer Board Member Trevor Atchley. Another violation that was not included on the citation involved people drinking outside in the parking lot.
The proper charge might have led to the board issuing a penalty, however the board dismissed the overcrowding charge with the warning that people cannot go freely from one room to the other and take alcohol with them. If the divided building is combined to use as a single club, the C-2 zoning requirements will kick in, said Police Officer John Collins, and the business will have to close at midnight, and both rooms may have to have sprinklers.
A special events beer permit was issued for the second round of the Riverfront Nights concert series on Aug. 4, 11 and 18. These free concerts will be held at 120 Riverfront Parkway from 6:30–10:30 p.m. An ID will be required every time a person goes through the line to buy beer.
The next meeting of the Chattanooga Beer Board has been moved from the regularly scheduled date, to Aug. 9. Discussion on the way to change the city’s wrecker rotation system will take place.