Studio 58, 4817 Highway 58, Suite 121, was at the Chattanooga Beer Board meeting for its first violation since the business opened on April 3 this year. Of the three violations brought against the bar, one was dismissed and two sustained.
The crowd that showed up was larger than expected at the sports bar on the night of April 17. Despite owner Terrance Jones’ plans for security at the bar, the large crowd got out of hand that night. Silence Security, a private, licensed security company had been hired and was present that night with eight guards at the bar that has a fire capacity of 190. Five guards were stationed inside and three outside.
Three calls had been made to the Chattanooga Police Department regarding the April 17 event. The first was made on April 15 in preparation for a show that would take place two days later. A rapper who was scheduled to perform was expected to draw a large number of customers and the security company called police just to make them aware of the potentially large crowd, and to ask for police to be stationed nearby so their presence would be noticed.
There had been 80 pre-sold tickets but then the crowd showed up that night to buy tickets at the door. Mr. Jones said he cut off sales when they reached 182 according to the counters at the door. When tickets stopped being sold, said Mr. Jones, people were arguing in the parking lot about getting in. That is when a second call was made to the police, just after midnight. This call was asking for help with crowd control. Two officers who had been sitting in a car in a nearby parking lot responded within a few minutes. By then, the private security guards had decided to close down the club for the night and could be heard on body cam video telling people to leave.
A third call was made to 911 at 12:41 a.m. This time police help was needed to stop multiple fights in the boisterous crowds milling around in the parking lot. And as the people were streaming out of the building as the club was being closed, officers saw some leaving with open containers.
During the commotion in the parking lot with several fights taking place, Mr. Jones was standing with the responding police asking for advice about how he could work together with the police to prevent disorders in the future. “You’re the owner, we can’t babysit and I cannot recommend what to do on private property, answered one officer. He said he could not give suggestions of how to run the business because of potential liability.
“It’s hard to run a nightclub in Chattanooga because you are dealing with that East Chattanooga clientele,” Mr. Jones said he was eventually told. After continuing his requests for measures to stop disorders, He was told to change his clientele. "If you appeal to the culture, you may have issues," said the officer.
Since the incident, Mr. Jones has made changes to his business. All employees have been given professional training in beer sales, a new dress code has been implemented and the age limit has been changed.
The charge regarding the immediate reporting of all fights and disorders to the police was dismissed. The charges of operating a disorderly place and allowing people to leave the premises with an open container of beer or alcohol was sustained. The penalty given is a three-day suspension beginning June 9 and ending June 11. All employees must also be trained again in beer sales and Mr. Jones is required to obtain a brown bag permit.
Advised that he can appeal the decisions, Mr. Jones said he would not, and he takes responsibility for the violations.