Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on February 2, 2017.

Written by Becky Witt

11:00 a.m.

I. Regular Items (New, Transfers, Expansions and Hardships):

Applicants Vincent Iottesta, Jr. and Erissa Mann
Business Name CP Limited
Trading As Ceremony Coffee
Address 1312 Point Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine and Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Alcoholic Beverages Article §12-1602(i) requiring $700,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 150 people.
Hearing notes

Ms. Caroline Hecker proffered for her clients that they are requesting a new Class B restaurant license for their coffee shop on the first floor of the 21-story Exelon building in Harbor Point. She submitted photos and renderings of the building.

Ceremony Coffee is an Annapolis company that opened its first location in Mount Vernon several years ago. Their Mount Vernon and Annapolis locations do not have a liquor license, but this new Harbor Point location plans to catch some of the post-work happy hour crowd relating to the new development. They plan to open in April. They met with the Fells Point Residents Association, which is the closest community association, and FPRA voted to support the project.

Ms. Hecker noted that this is the first liquor license in Harbor Point, so there are no other licenses in the immediate vicinity. Commissioner Moore pointed out that there are many licenses in Harbor East, nearby.

Mr. Iottesta testified that he will have his employees alcohol management certified, and they will require ID from anyone who appears under 40 years old.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Samantha Juengel
Business Name Golden West Café, Inc.
Trading As Golden West Café
Address 1105 W. 36th Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership with continuation of live entertainment, request for off-premise catering.
Hearing notes

Ms. Juengel was represented by consultant Will Bauer at this hearing. Juengel testified that the Golden West Cafe has been open since 1997 in Hampden and in its current location since 2003. She started working at Golden West in 2004, became a partner at the business three years ago, and she has since bought out the interest of the original owner of the business.

Chairman Matricciani asked whether they would be changing anything in the transfer; Mr. Bauer responded that the only thing that they are changing is “bringing off premises catering up to code.” Juengel added that they do off-premises catering 3-5 times per year and that they want to be “on the up and up.”

The applicants submitted letters of approval from the Hampden Community Council and the Hampden Village Merchants’ Association.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

It’s unclear what “bringing off premises catering up to code means;” it may mean that the Golden West has been doing off premises catering without Liquor Board approval in the past and wanted to apply for approval.

Applicants Joan Dolina and Randy Shayotovich
Business Name The Arthouse, LLC
Trading As The Arthouse
Address 1115 W. 36th Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership and location of a Class “B” Beer, Wine and Liquor license presently located at 3626A Falls Road to 1115 W. 36th Street and request for off-premise catering.
Hearing notes

The two applicants have owned businesses in Hampden for several years and are requesting to move the Class B license formerly owned by David’s to their current location. The Arthouse has been operating with a Beer and Wine license that requires a 1am closure. The transferring license will allow liquor sales as well as a 2am closure.

Ms. Dolina testified that she started her art gallery years ago and added the restaurant more recently. The Arthouse shows and sells art made by local artists as well as brick oven pizza and small plates. They have had no violations.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Sherice Haywood and Jennifer Hernandez
Business Name Red Eye Shift, LLC
Trading As Trade Name Pending
Address 1725 Ponca Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership of the Class “BD7” Beer, Wine and Liquor License and Class “AE” Adult Entertainment License.
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski proffered that the establishment has been at this location for a long time and submitted photos — “not of the dancers, but of the area… not that there’s anything wrong with [that],” said Kodenski. Kodenski gave the commissioners a packet of information about the proposed transfer, “cause I know you like to look at things.” He pointed out that the area is industrial and the specific location is under an overpass. There are no residences close by. The other businesses close by are a closed carryout, Amazon, a trucking company, and an asphalt plant.

The applicants have worked in the alcoholic beverage industry for the past several years. The manager, who was also present but is not an applicant, has worked in the adult entertainment industry. He testified briefly that he has managed adult entertainment clubs for over 27 years and described his security plans. He said that, in order to keep out underage people, the club will have a dress code. He will train his staff not to overserve customers. Commissioner Moore asked about his hiring plans; the manager responded that he will be hiring the dancers as employees, not as independent contractors. He will keep employee records on location.

Mr. Kodenski proffered that his clients plan to offer a food menu in the future, adding, “it seems like, Scores and Gold Club and the rest of them, they all seem to be adding a food component to their business which I think goes along rather nicely with what they have. Fantasies, actually, has a pretty decent menu – the only reason why I know that is I was there with Mr. Frank Shaulis. He drove me there; I didn’t go there on my own.”

Ms. Hernandez testified that she plans to move into the city and be on site often.

Commissioner Greenfield asked whether parking will be an issue, given the truck traffic in the area. Ms. Hernandez responded that they are trying to figure out a parking plan, since their parking lot is small. Greenfield recommended special attention to parking if they schedule special events.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Paul Kopchinski
Business Name CZYN, LLC
Trading As De Kleine Duivel
Address 3602 Hickory Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add live entertainment.
Hearing notes

Mr. Kopchinski testified that the bar has been operating since 2013, serving Belgian beer. They will be hosting occasional music events with small bands. The Hampden Community Council and Hampden Village Merchants Association both approved the application, and the establishment has not had any violations.

Commissioner Moore noted that the BMZA approval of the live entertainment was subject to the restrictions in the application submitted to the Zoning Board. She asked for a copy of the restrictions, and Mr. Will Bauer read the restrictions into the record. Moore asked for a physical copy, and Bauer promised to stop by the office and make a copy for the Liquor Board’s file.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Carlos Azor
Business Name Rumba Tropical Lounge, LLC
Trading As Rumba Tropical Lounge
Address 7 E. Lexington Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverages Article § 12-2202.
Hearing notes

Mr. Azor testified that there was a fire at the location six months ago, on July 30, and he is still dealing with the insurance company, which has reimbursed him for the damage to his business but not for the property loss. He is not the owner of the building, and his landlord did not have property insurance.

Chairman Matricciani asked Mr. Azor for his plan to deal with the situation; Azor replied that he will rebuild once he has received money from the insurance company.

Commissioner Moore asked Mr. Azor what his landlord has done to start repairing the damage to the building. Azor replied, “actually nothing.” Moore asked whether it was Azor’s plan to transfer the license to another location or sell it; the licensee responded that right now, he just needs time to figure out what he will do.

Commissioner Greenfield suggested that it might make sense to relocate, given the issues with his landlord. He said that Azor should work with the agency staff to make sure he understands the time frame in the law. Chairman Matricciani added that the insurance company is not under any obligation to reimburse the licensee within the time allotted by state law, and the license may expire while the licensee is negotiating with the insurance company. If that happens, the Liquor Board cannot revive it.

Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 p.m.

II. Violations:

Licensee Anastasia Vasilakopoulos
Business Name Egira, LLC
Trading As Speakeasy Saloon
Address 2840 O’Donnell Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.16: Illegal Conduct – November 18, 2016 – On October 14, 2016 Inspector Perez had visited the establishment and conducted a routine inspection. At that time, Perez had discovered that the establishment did not have an active Trader’s License for 2016. Inspector Perez instructed management to obtain one on or before October 24, 2016. Inspector Perez returned to the establishment on November 18, 2016 to determine if the establishment had obtained their 2016 Trader’s License. On that date, Inspector Perez again requested a copy of the 2016 Trader’s License from the management at the establishment. The manager, Mr. Davis Garrison, could not produce a valid 2016 Trader’s License. A review by BLLC staff on January 18, 2017 found that no 2016 trader’s License had been issued to Egira, LLC.

Violation of Alc. Bev. Art. §3-504(f)(1)(III): – Failure to Present Valid Alcohol Awareness Certificate – November 18, 2016 – On October 14, 2016 Inspector Perez had visited the establishment and conducted a routine inspection. Upon conducting the inspection, Perez requested from Mr. Davis Garrison, the manager of the location, a copy of the establishment’s alcohol awareness certification. Mr. Garrison could not produce an alcohol awareness certification at the time. Inspector Perez instructed management to obtain one on or before October 24, 2016. Inspector Perez returned to the establishment on November 18, 2016 to determine if the establishment had obtained or could produce a valid alcohol awareness certificate. On that date, Inspector Perez again requested a copy of alcohol awareness certificate from the management at the establishment. The manager, Mr. Davis Garrison, could not produce a valid alcohol awareness certificate to Inspector Perez.

Hearing notes

Mr. Vasili Vasilakopoulos admitted the violations. He testified his business did have a valid alcohol awareness certificate. His employee could not find it on that date, however, and he happened to be out of town. They fixed the trader’s license the morning of the hearing and provided proof that they currently have an up to date license.

Chairman Matricciani and Commissioner Moore both noted that the establishment had had a similar violation in 2013, which shows a pattern of disorganization.

Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Elise Singer
Business Name ERS, Inc.
Trading As Steam Punk Alley aka Leon’s
Address 870 Park Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.16: Illegal Conduct – November 18, 2016 – On October 6, 2016 Agent John Howard had visited the establishment and conducted a routine inspection. At that time, Howard had discovered that the establishment did not have an active Trader’s License for 2016. Howard instructed management to obtain one on or before October 14, 2016. Howard returned to the establishment on January 4, 2017 in response to a 311 call. While the 311 complaint was unfounded, Agent Howard conducted a compliance check of the establishment and discovered that the management could still not produce a valid 2016 Trader’s License. A review by BLLC staff on January 18, 2017 found that no 2016 trader’s License had been issued to ERS, Incorporated.

Violation of Rule 4.16: Illegal Conduct – January 18, 2017 – At approximately 12:44 pm, BLLC staff conducted a review of the corporate status of the entity known as “ERS, Incorporated” and found that the entity was deemed “forfeited” by the State Department of Assessments and Taxation.

Hearing notes

Former Liquor Board Chairman Stephan Fogleman proffered for his client that he had not yet been able to fix the trader’s license or corporate status issue because of an illness. He requested a postponement of the matter so that his client could have time to get in good standing. The Board agreed.

Result of hearing Postponed for two weeks
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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