Downtown Chattanooga club gets to keep beer license
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A nearly year-long controversy surrounding a downtown Chattanooga night club has come to an end. A judge ruled this week on if Midtown Music Hall can keep its beer license. This comes after the city beer board revoked it, calling it a "disorderly place."
The city beer board revoked the club's beer license in September, citing numerous fights at the club. After several hearings, a local chancellor signed the final order on the dispute this week. Midtown Music Hall can keep it's beer license.
"I think we displayed to the judge that we do care about our patrons and we do care about the safety of downtown Chattanooga," Midtown Music Hall Manager Anthony Byrd said.
Midtown Manager Anthony Byrd prepped for Saturday night's crowd with a new sense of relief after a rough several months of fighting to stay open.
"Very stressful. We've lost a lot of business and a lot of money," Byrd said.
Nearby residents say a fight outside Midtown last summer was the final straw and, along with police, urged the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board permanently revoke its beer license.
"These parties are beginning on Thursday night and they're going through Monday morning," resident Terri Thomas said before the board in September.
"There's loud noises," neighborhood association president Kim Gavin said.
"We're asking the beer board to put a line in the sand and say we're not going to have this type of establishment in our downtown," resident Kim White said.
The board first tried to revoke the license citing multiple violations, but since they happened more than a year apart, a judge ruled it didn't meet state requirements for revocation. Then they argued it was a "disorderly place," but after yet another hearing, the judge ruled against revocation again saying the incidents happened outside the club.
"It's not a slap in the face to the beer board or to the officers, because they all work so hard. I just hope we can all work together and make things better for all of us," Byrd said.
Channel 3 spoke off camera with some of those upset neighbors who went before the beer board. They say they're disappointed, but haAve noticed Midtown's attempts to be a better neighbor.
"Now we've got to work even harder because we know eyes are going to be on us," Byrd said.
Byrd says he's added more cameras and security and worked on the exterior some. Neighbors say still, their biggest complaint is noise in the early morning hours from loud crowds leaving the club. Byrd says he's doing his best to keep that down.
The city can appeal the decision, but City Attorney Michael McMahan told Channel 3 he had "no comment on the case."