NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk City Council voted Tuesday to deny alcohol permits totwo Waterside restaurants, Bar Norfolk and Have a Nice DayCafe.
The ruling stipulates the two venues are no longer allowed toserve beer, wine or mixed drinks -- effective immediately.
However, inside Have a Nice Day Cafe on Tuesday night, abartender stacked the shelves with alcohol and a short time laterdoors were opened for business.
"Last night we got a call that we weren't going to getapproved," said Frank Szabo, Supervisor for BMG, the bar'sownership company. "We haven't lost our liquor license. We stillhave the Virginia ABC liquor license and tonight we're going toopen and legally sell alcohol."
BMG also operates Bar Norfolk, which was not granted the specialexception either.
Szabo says it's a zoning issue.
Yet, by opening it's doors, the Cafe violated the City's ruling.At 9:30 p.m. police officers issued a citation. Szabo said hewelcomed it.
"This is a zoning issue and we look forward to our day in courtto hash out why," said Szabo.
At Tuesday's council meeting, the Deputy City Attorney outlineda long list of grievances found at both establishments, includingunlicensed third party promoters, not checking id's, over-servingand overcrowding.
Szabo says the claims are unfounded. "We've been here for 11years now doing the same thing we've been doing. We're actuallydoing it better now because they've come and asked us to changethese things," said Szabo.
The Council's decision was not caused by one thing in particularbut by several acts of violence, including numerous calls to 911for incidents at Waterside and its garage. City leaders andWaterside management has supported new rules after recent crimesthis year. In March, inside the Waterside Garage, two people wereshot, one of them died. Police say both the victims and suspect hadrecently left Waterside bars. These recent crimes have taintedWaterside's reputation.
A WAVY.com investigation in March also revealed that Norfolkpolice responded to more than 300 police calls at the WatersideMarketplace and Garage within 2008 and 2009.
Leaders were hoping these special exceptions could turn thingsaround at Waterside. The special exemptions would have allowed thebars and restaurants to continue selling alcohol, but also requirethem to list everything done at their business.
As for the idea that Have a Nice Day Cafe and Bar Norfolk don'tfit the family friendly image City Council is trying to create withthe new Waterside, Szabo said, "We don't have any control besidesinside our four walls. There's been no stabbings, no shootingsinside these places. We're just kind of at a loss."
Jillian's, Joe's Crab Shack and Outback Steakhouse did not showa record of violations at Waterside, according to AlcoholicBeverage Control Public Relations Specialist Philip Bogenberger.Hooter's does have two violations on record, but thier alcohollicense was not taken away.
What do you think about the Council's ruling? Weigh in by takingour poll above or leaving your comments below.
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