Chattanooga's Blue Light, Beer Board again at odds over settlement deadline

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Station Street, with the Blue Light Bar and Grill in the background, is seen on June 20.
Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Station Street, with the Blue Light Bar and Grill in the background, is seen on June 20.

Questions remained following the Beer Board meeting on Thursday regarding a missed deadline to follow through on the city's agreed-upon settlement with the Blue Light nightclub over alleged violations stemming back to late 2020.

According to Beer Board Officer Jason Wood, the club has paid $1,000 as part of the agreement, but owner Brian Joyce had not met the prescribed deadline of Nov. 30 to meet with Wood to begin creating a new security plan involving the club.

Joyce told the Times Free Press in a text that the issue is one of timing and communication.

"The Beer Board will get our security plan," Joyce said. "We wouldn't have contacted Sgt. Wood two weeks ago unless we planned to follow through. The problem is, the city signed our agreement on Oct. 28, but didn't deliver a copy to us until four days later, on Nov. 1. In the interest of being as comprehensive and detailed as we can be, it's taken us an extra four days to report back. I'm sure the Beer Board understands, as it took them an extra four days just to send us the agreement."

According to the agreement, failure to meet the Nov. 30 deadline could result in the agreement being voided and the cases -- which originally resulted in the board voting to revoke the beer license -- being brought back up.

Blue Light attorney Scott Maucere said via text on Thursday that the Blue Light had met all of its requirements and that it was the city that was causing the delay.

"Blue Light has done its part reaching out to create a plan," he wrote. "I know for a fact the city has been moving as slow as molasses. They're the ones taking so long."

Wood said in an email to the Times Free Press Thursday morning that the fault is not with the city.

"He's (Joyce) not met the deadline," Wood said. "I've notified the city attorney's office and have again requested a meeting with him (Joyce) to go over the security plan."

Phone calls to city staff attorney Kathryn McDonald, who represents the Beer Board, and interim city attorney Phil Noblett were not returned at press time.

The Blue Light opened in August 2021 inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex in a space once occupied by the live music venue Songbirds South and is now below the Songbirds Foundation space. It is across the street from clubs Westbound and Regan's Place and the recently opened Boneyard Bar.

In November 2021, the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board found the Blue Light in violation of six separate code violations that reportedly took place between September and Oct. 31 of the same year. At the time, the board voted to repeal the bar's beer license, which the Blue Light appealed, sending the case to Chancery Court where it was heard by Judge Jeffrey Atherton in June.

The violations include a staff member being intoxicated while on duty, selling alcohol off premises, operating a disorderly place and failing to report a disorder to police.

The appeal was heard in part by Atherton in June. After two days of testimony, it was put on hold because of a crowded court docket. Atherton recommended the two sides seek agreement through mediation.

The agreement was signed by Atherton on Oct. 26, according to Maucere.

Maucere told the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone Nov. 19 that Joyce had sent in a $1,000 check as part of the agreement and reached out to Wood to begin working on a security plan for the club.

Wood confirmed to members of the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board at the Nov. 18 regularly scheduled monthly meeting that Joyce had reached out to him to begin talking about the new plan. The Blue Light case was not on the agenda but came up at the end after acting Chairman Vince Butler asked if there was an update on the nearly year-old case.

It came up again at Thursday's meeting. Member Cynthia Coleman noted to board members that Joyce had posted on social media regarding the case and that she found the post personally threatening. Joyce stated in the post that the "The Blue Light bears 'NO LIABILITY OR WRONGDOING' -- was agreed to by the City's attorney, and signed off on by a judge in a court of law."

His posting said the settlement "represents a huge victory for me, my business, and my staff."

Maucere agreed on Thursday in his text to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

"The court's order does say that," he wrote. "Brian is allowed to interpret that. It's a huge victory."

Joyce also accused the media and the Beer Board of being biased against him and wrote in another post, "They better hope I never come after them personally. So far I've kept it professional, legal, and between the lines. They come after me again and try to impugn my reputation or that of my staff, it's gonna get personal."

Coleman told the board she felt threatened by that post.

"That's what concerns me and why I wanted to bring it to the board," she said. "He said he did nothing wrong and that we were not doing our job."

Joyce said of her comments, "I don't know who Ms. Coleman is, but I haven't been contacted by law enforcement or notified by Facebook of any 'threatening' posts or comments attributed to me. If Ms. Coleman feels 'personally threatened' by anything, I would encourage her to do what anyone would do -- report the threat, and contact police."

Chairman Monica Kinsey said, "That's just him being Brian. He's in media and he is going to put on a show."

Joyce is the host of "The Brian Joyce Show" on WGOW-FM 102.3.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354. Follow him on Twitter @BarryJC.

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