The Beast and Barrel, 16 Frazier Ave., was penalized by the Chattanooga Beer Board on Thursday, for violating the city’s beer code by allowing an employee to consume beer or alcohol while on the premise of the place where they work. The restaurant actually did not allow it knowingly.
On the night of Jan. 8, Investigator Jeffrey Buchner with the Chattanooga Police Department, made a traffic stop on the Market Street Bridge at 12:19 p.m.
The driver failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for DUI. At the time, he told the officer that he was an employee just leaving his job as a cook at Beast and Barrel. He had also purchased beer at a nearby convenience store; it was in the car but was unopened. He told the officer that he had one beer at work. “For one beer, to see that impact,” said Officer Buchner “would probably be a big beer.”
He told a different story to the head cook a couple of days later. That scenario was that after work he had gone to a friend’s house and had chugged two beers before leaving, and stopped to buy more beer at a convenience store, after which he was stopped and arrested.
“He’s either a thief or a liar,” said Mr. Lewis. He was not served at Beast and Barrel so if he had a beer at work," he stole it, we do not serve employees," he said.
This man had only been employed by the restaurant for one week prior to the incident. Even though the number of restaurants in the city has increased recently, the workforce has not, said Mr. Lewis. If background checks were done for everyone, they likely would have no employees, he added. By hiring him, “We made a mistake,” he said.
The kitchen closed at 11 p.m. that night and the staff stays about an hour after to close. Rachel Pilkinton, the manager that night after closing, did not watch him leave, but said it was at midnight. Employees are not watched constantly, she said, they are adults. No other employee saw him drinking on the job, said the manager.
Chairman of the Beer Board Ron Smith said, "We’re all struggling with believing that somebody could get so totally inebriated in the 19 minutes after leaving the restaurant, including stopping to buy beer. He got alcohol some place.".
The owners of this bar are associated with six other restaurants in the Chattanooga area. They have been cited to the beer board three times since 2005 for other restaurants, said Mr. Lewis; none of those violations had to do with Beast and Barrel.
Beer Board Member Trevor Atchley made a motion which passed 6-1 for a written reprimand to be put in the business’s file, saying the board believed the employee must have had alcohol at work but that he was not served.
A special event beer permit was approved for a fundraiser to benefit Make-A-Wish of East Tennessee. This will be the 15th year for the annual event “Wish Bowl,” that will be held at Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St., on Feb. 3 from 5:30-11:30 p.m. There will be food, drink, silent and live auctions and TVs to watch the Superbowl. General admission tickets are $75, or tables can be bought. Tickets can be purchased through the website tn.wish.org or by phone at (423) 551-3271.