Blue Light on Station Street, city of Chattanooga come to terms over beer board violations

Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / The Blue Light Bar and Grill, 43 Station Stree, has reached agreement with the Beer Board for security and other improvements.
Staff File Photo by Robin Rudd / The Blue Light Bar and Grill, 43 Station Stree, has reached agreement with the Beer Board for security and other improvements.

As a result of a resolution agreement reached last month between the city of Chattanooga and owners of the Blue Light nightclub on Station Street, there could be more of a security presence inside and outside of the venue going forward.

The agreement was signed by Chancery Court Judge Jeffrey Atherton on Oct. 26, according to Blue Light attorney Scott Maucere. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone Friday that club owner Brian Joyce has sent in a $1,000 check as part of the agreement and reached out to Beer Board inspector Sgt. Jason Wood to begin working on a security plan for the club.

Wood confirmed to members of the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board on Thursday at the end of their regular 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 Thursday but came up at the end after acting Chairman Vince Butler asked if there was an update on the nearly year-old case.

"Mr. Joyce has reached out to me to begin putting together a security plan," Wood told the board.

Wood said he is optimistic about working with the venue and told the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone Friday that he hopes to discuss adding more security inside the Blue Light and perhaps limiting capacity, but that he is also concerned about the outside patio where he has witnessed patrons who had gone through the front door interacting with nonpatrons on Station Street.

"I've seen it myself," he said. "It about gave me an ulcer. They could be handing anything -- guns, drugs, whatever -- to the person inside."

The Blue Light opened in August 2021. Station Street has become the city's premier entertainment spot for adults and is known for the numerous restaurants and bars nearby. Blue Light is located 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 case was heard in part by Atherton in June. After two days of testimony, it was put on hold because of a crowded court docket, and Atherton recommended the two sides seek agreement through mediation.

A tentative agreement was reached in July, but it needed approval by the Beer Board, whose members said when it was presented that they felt it didn't go far enough.

The Beer Board gave a list of requests including all Blue Light management and staff receive training through the city's approved program, that Blue Light should have to remain violation free for 12 months and that the venue work with the city, namely Wood, on a tighter security plan.

All are part of the new agreement, Maucere said. He said the 12-month period started with the signing of the agreement on Oct. 26. He added that he and his clients have wanted to work with the city on creating a detailed safety plan for almost a year.

"We are satisfied with the resolution," Maucere told the Times Free Press by phone Friday. "This is what we've wanted all along."

He said one of the key elements to the agreement is that Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy, who took office in February, has approved allowing on- and off-duty uniformed police officers working as security on Station Street. Under the previous administration, off-duty officers could not work as paid security personnel in businesses that sold alcohol as a primary part of their business.

Wood said the change will allow off-duty officers to work in such businesses, but it will also provide for on-duty officers, known as "focused deterrence detail," to patrol parts of town that might have higher reported crime rates.

Maucere said it is a positive move.

"We are ready to move forward and work with the city," Maucere said. "This lets us do things that we weren't able to do before, like have uniformed and off-duty officers on Station Street.

"Uniformed police officers deter bad behavior, and at the end of the day, we want people to be safe."

Email requests for comments sent to Joyce and City Attorney Phil Noblett were not answered by press time Friday.

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

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