published Friday, September 16th, 2011

Chattanooga beer board revokes 1 license, suspends 1

by Naomi Jagoda
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    Midtown Music Hall in Chattanooga

Two downtown Chattanooga nightclubs accused of operating disorderly businesses were penalized Thursday by the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board.

The board voted to revoke the license of Midtown Music Hall and issue a 30-day suspension to The 807 Fire and Ice. The rulings only affect licenses for selling beer, which means they can continue to serve wine and spirits.

The board voted 6-2 in favor of Midtown's revocation and 7-1 in favor of Fire and Ice's suspension.

Board Vice Chairman Christopher Keene and board member Phillip Sallee said they voted to revoke Midtown's license but only suspend Fire and Ice's license because Midtown has had previous violations.

Police filed reports in August describing disorderly crowds around the establishments that resulted in arrests. At the meeting, police said there have been 52 calls so far this year to Midtown's address and 53 calls to Fire and Ice's address.

Kim White, president of the nonprofit downtown development company River City Co., said other nightspots in the vicinity have not caused similar problems. She encouraged the board to revoke the licenses of both clubs permanently.

"We feel that Fire and Ice is a cancer," said White, who was among about 40 people in the audience.

Others said the disorders at Midtown and Fire and Ice have caused problems for those living nearby. Kim Gavin, who lives at the Loveman's on Market building between the clubs, said residents lose sleep when patrons are leaving.

Representatives of the two clubs defended their businesses to the beer board.

Anthony Byrd of Midtown, at 820 Georgia Ave., said there have been no incidents at Midtown since the one that led to the police report. The club has made an effort to improve security in the subsequent weeks, he said.

Kelly Burkett, who runs Fire and Ice at 807 Market St., said he is trying to work with police and noted that his business is also a full-scale restaurant that serves lunch five days a week.

Byrd said his establishment would be open this weekend.

Forestine Haynes, the only board member to vote against both measures, said she is not sure the establishments committed violations based on the evidence presented at the meeting.

City Councilman AndraƩ McGary, whose district includes downtown and who came to Thursday's board meeting, said he is "left a little bit miffed" by the results.

McGary said that he got the sense that Midtown wanted to make changes, but that he did not get the same sense from Fire and Ice.

He encouraged the board to rescind one or both of the decisions.

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UjokinRIGHTQ said...

It really does seem like only the black venues downtown are being targeted. They use to use country music to run the blacks and browns from Chattanooga downtown nightspots. Now they've graduated to manipulating authority. Way to go backwards Chattanooga!! That's why my diverse group of friends stay away from Chattanooga altogether. There are much more fun places in other towns that care more about the color green than the color of someone's skin.

September 16, 2011 at 9:41 a.m.
PaulWilson said...

I could care less whether the clubs in question exist or not. Plain and simple...I don't go to either and have no desire to hit a dance club for a night out anymore. When it is all said and done, the venues in question have become what some people in the downtown community view as a liability. I hate to say it but, there is a bit of truth to their arguement. When people move out in to the street and continue to party after a club, or music venue mind you, closes...there are bound to be problems. This has been the case at both Midtown and Fire & Ice. You can say racism all you want but, you cannot deny the facts. As for those that live in the former Lovemans' building. You knew when you moved downtown that you were doing just that...moving in to a downtown area where there would be noise and other distrubances. Now, this does not excuse the actions of the people in question. It just proves that you can't say you didn't know what you were getting into. I'm willing to bet the same people complaining about the noise at these downtown nightspots have also complained about the endless fire calls to Patton Towers. Those fire calls happen almost every single day and night of the year. In the end, Midtown hasn't been shut down, yet. The state ABC board, which is who controls liquor sales, has not revoked Midtown's liquor license. You've got a little more time to save your precious dance club. Behave yourselves and the patrons of Midtown will still be able to at least get a glass of wine or a cocktail. Think about the events you throw. Don't oversell to your patrons. Have security and doormen who know how to do their jobs with dignity and can properly difuse a situation defore the police have to be called. Expect people to act like the adults they supposedly are. In other words, be smart. If you don't want to lose your business, if you don't want to lose your hang out spot...don't be stupid.

September 16, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.
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