Acapulco Bar On Rossville Boulevard Gets 3-Day Beer License Suspension, $50 Fine

Friday, August 18, 2017 - by Gail Perry

During a bar check conducted by the Chattanooga police, fire and building inspectors and the ABC board, Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins went to Acapulco Bar, 2825 Rossville Blvd., and discovered many customers there that night under the age of 21. Untrained doormen at the front were not asking for IDs and, when Officer Collins asked the individuals, nine had no IDs, and all said they were 22. Most of the other patrons showed “consulate IDs” or “International IDs.

” Neither is a valid form of identification, said Officer Collins.


If a bar allows smoking, the minimum age to enter is 21 and the burden of proof is on Maria Tomas, the owner of the beer license, to prove the age requirements, which she was unable to do with the type of IDs the customers possessed. She said that people from Mexico and Guatemala go to Atlanta and pay $70 for those cards. She also said, “It is hard to say they were underage because they are short people.”


Board member Trevor Atchley said that cultural issues are a problem with this case, and told Ms. Tomas that she must conform to Tennessee laws and require U.S. identification. For that charge, the bar received a three-day suspension that will start on Aug. 24. The security guards must be licensed in a smoking establishment. A second violation was given for the utilization of non-licensed security, and another three-day suspension to run concurrently with the first suspension was given for that violation. Additionally, there was a $50 fine and a letter of reprimand in the bar’s file, imposed because there was no land line phone which is needed by 911 to identify location in the event of an emergency.


The Bar, 4904 Rossville Blvd., is being run by a friend of the owner, Heather Coulter, because she has been caring for her sick parents. Acting manager Virginia Barton told the Beer Board she is not being paid but “would like to keep it going for the veterans.” A bar check was spurred by complaints of illegal gambling, illegal liquor sales, conditions of the building and ownership issues. A search warrant yielded over $1,000 in cash, gambling paraphernalia and two bottles of liquor stored in the back.


A customer of the bar, said Ms. Barton, told everybody that he was the owner. He was the one who was gambling, and who brought and left liquor, even though the establishment has no ABC license, she said. She added that she did not know it was there and she did not sell it. The board issued a suspension of the beer license, starting immediately, until the current beer license is surrendered by the owner, after which the manager, Ms. Barton, can reapply for a new permit.


The board found a glitch in the beer code as it is written regarding the distance requirement from a place that sells consumer and carry-out beer to a neighboring church. The code says that the distance from door-to-door must be 500 feet, but does not specify if that is “by the way the crow flies” or if it is measured in a path along the street.


Melanie Krautstrunk, owner of Hutton & Smith Brewing Co., already holds one beer permit. She has applied for a license at a second location at 3108 Riverside Dr. for a manufacturing and a tasting room. In the recent past, the board gave her a special events permit for the location on Riverside Drive. Upon recommendation from Assistant City Attorney Keith Reisman, Ms. Krautstrunk had a survey done that showed the distance from door to door is 697 feet along the road. “I’m not trying to do something outside the law,” she told the board, but the code is not clear. She told the board that the way to measure is written nowhere in the code and the code also says that if one license has been obtained by a business, then the distance requirement does not apply. Because the special event permit was given, she did not anticipate a problem getting the consumer/carry-out license.


The business was approved for a manufacturing license and will come before the board at the next meeting on Sept. 7, when Attorney Reisman is present, to apply for the consumer permit. "We are not denying any permits today," Mr. Atchley told her.


China Moon, 5600 Brainerd Road, had to apply for a new beer license because of an ownership change. The board gave a permit but made a recommendation that Nong Fei Ye, the new owner, provide training in alcohol sales to all employees, even though most have been retained from the previous owner.


Two special events will be taking place in Chattanooga on Aug. 26, and both were approved for beer sales and given a special events license. The 23rd annual Southern Brewer’s Festival organized by Craftworks Foundation will take place at Ross’s Landing from 2-10 p.m. The River Gorge Omni/Chattanooga Bike Race will also be taking place on that Saturday, and the Pickle Barrel was approved for a special events beer permit to sell beer on tap from a fenced-in location at 1012 Market St.


Launch CHA is organized by a non-profit organization that helps underserved citizens to start businesses. Launch is a city wide fundraiser that will take place at Stratton Hall, 3146 Broad St. Black Tie Affair will be in charge of beer and wine sales at the catered event.


A free music series, Jazzanooga, will be on the lawn of Bessie Smith Hall on consecutive Thursday nights on Aug. 24 and 31, and Sept. 7, 14, 21 and 28. Each concert will be from 5-9:30 p.m. Shane Morrow, representing the organizers, said it is a community-driven event meant to bring focus to and showcase this district of the city.

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