Chattanooga beer board revokes 1 license, suspends 1

Chattanooga beer board revokes 1 license, suspends 1

September 16th, 2011 by Naomi Jagoda in News

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 Andraé 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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