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Liquor Issues

by Brew Editors2:22 pmAug 11, 20150

A 21-year-old strip club manager, a TGI Fridays for Mondawmin and props for the chairman

Watchdog observes as the new Liquor Board commissioners dig into a typical docket

Above: “Floor plan” submitted by Pole Play Lounge as part of their license transfer request.

Some oddities caught the eye of the Community Law Center’s Booze News blogger at last week’s meeting – among them the fact that a 21-year-old is to manage the Pole Play Lounge, a new strip club coming to Baltimore’s red light district, The Block.

The board unanimously approved the transfer of the tavern and adult entertainment license sought for the establishment at 417 East Baltimore Street, the site of the former Oasis nightclub.

According to Booze News’ Rebecca Lundberg Witt, plenty was missing from their application:

Business name: None provided in the docket.
Corporate entity in good standing: None provided.
Location of entity’s principal office: None provided.
Floor plan submitted: Witt included a shot she took of the map, done in childlike scrawl. See above.

One thing that was included in the application: the manager’s age.

The manager “was born in 1994, according to the application, which makes her 21 years old,” Witt wrote.

Pole Play’s attorney, Melvin J. Kodenski, said that the manager was well-qualified, noting she has worked in adult entertainment at other clubs in Baltimore for four years.

TGI Fridays at Mondawmin

For those looking to Liquor Board meetings for information about new restaurants and bars coming to the city, there was good news for a high-profile spot in Baltimore – Mondawmin Mall.

A new liquor license was unanimously approved for a TGI Fridays at Mondawmin Mall (scene of police action and rioting that spread across the city on April 27), and it is still planning to open on schedule.

Witt passed along some basic information about the kind of establishment the national restaurant chain plans to open at 2435 Liberty Heights Avenue.

“The restaurant will be large: 7,000 square feet. They will employ Baltimore City police officers on site, in plainclothes,” Witt wrote.

“There is ample parking, and they will invest over $3.6 million in construction costs. The restaurant will open in September and will begin hiring 150 employees next week.”

Not so Easy on Breezy’s

In another case, Witt gave new Liquor Board Chairman Benjamin A. Neil credit for holding off on granting a hardship extension for an applicant who couldn’t document her case.

Delaphine Henson sought a hardship extension for Breezy’s at 2015-17 East Federal Street, but couldn’t prove that the establishment had been open as late as March 1, 2015.

The applicant’s son said there had been some burst pipes in March that had caused the business to shut down and destroyed their records.

Liquor Board executive secretary, Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth, suggested that the panel give a provisional approval, subject to the future submission of documents that show that the business was open.

But Neil was not so accommodating, saying he did not want to give approval to Breezy’s without seeing the documents first.

 Neil Made “Correct Decision”

Neil gave the Hensons examples of documents they could get copies of, including retail sales tax records, receipts showing purchases from distributors or employee records.

“Chairman Neil made the legally correct decision in postponing the case until the licensees provided sufficient evidence that they had been open,” Witt wrote, adding:

“The licensee is the only party with access to the necessary documents, so it is the licensee’s responsibility to make their case; the Board is the regulator and should not have to bend over backwards to keep the license alive for the licensee.”

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