In a 6 to 2 decision this morning, Chattanooga Beer Board members voted to suspend a downtown bar’s beer license for operating a disorderly place.
Southern Comfort, 511 Broad St., will not be allowed to serve beer beginning Aug. 9 for three consecutive days.
Nearly a dozen Chattanooga Police Department officers responded to the bar and some were already on stand-by June 2 when the bar closed its doors at 3 a.m.
A large crowd of 150 to 200 people exited on to a sidewalk and private parking lot nearby. The crowd reportedly became disruptive, yelling profanity at police resulting in three arrests, according to officers.
“The problem we’re having with Southern Comfort is when they exit, they go on the sidewalk and stand there,” said Field Training Officer Sloan Rankhorn, who added, “It’s every single weekend.”
Rankhorn said adding alcohol to the equation of a large crowd causes more issues.
There are no local rules that define disorderly place. However, Arvin Reingold, an attorney representing the bar, argued Southern Comfort cannot be responsible for its patrons once they have left the bar.
“That’s very clear. It’s not muddled in any way,” he said, citing a court of appeals decision.
Today’s violation marks Southern Comfort’s fourth violation with the board.
Beer Board Chairperson Christopher Keene said it is the board’s discretion on how how to discipline a bar for each violation. There are no rules that state a bar loses its license after a certain number of violations, he said.
Escandalo, 3712 Rossville Blvd., received its fifth violation today for allowing the consumption of alcohol just before 5 a.m. and not clearing tables by closing time. Police observed as many as eight people inside the bar and cold bottles sitting out, according to authorities.
In a unanimous vote, the bar received a six-day suspension of its beer license to begin Aug. 10.
For more on this story, read Friday’s Times Free Press.