The Venue Won’t Get Its Liquor License Back

Posted at 7:35 PM, Apr 19, 2013

DIAMONDALE, Mich. — The State Liquor Control Commission decided Friday that a popular Standale bar won’t get its liquor license back.

Andrea Miller of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told FOX 17 NEWS that the Liquor Control Commission had conducted a hearing on the city of Walker’s request to the commission not to renew the liquor license for The Venue, located at 4072 Lake Michigan Drive, and decided not to renew the license.

The Liquor Commission ordered the license to be placed in escrow. The licensee retains the property right with the license.

The city recommended the bar’s license not be renewed. FOX 17 obtained the police reports through the Freedom of Information Act to find out what had been happening at the bar.

The reports date back to 2010 and include a number of calls to the bar indicating problems with serving alcohol to minors, girls dancing without tops and calls about trouble in the parking lot.

The city of Walker used what was contained in the reports as evidence in its decision to recommend the bar’s license get pulled.

First we took a look at a report from last summer which included claims that involved nudity during a body painting event at the bar.

In that report, Walker Police stated there were women dancing with only paint on their chests during “College Night and Body Paint Night.”  The officer said he told the manager that, “he did not have a topless dance permit and I would have to speak to with the dancers.

“Then he reported that the manager replied that, they had all run away.’”

Police then claimed in the report the manager, “stalled for time to allow them to leave” before they could be questioned.  One woman was located and questioned.

In the bar’s defense, Ajay Chhabra said it was only someone’s opinion that the manager was stalling, and the bar never received a ticket for that incident.

Also, he said event promoters said the body paint is considered clothing which is also written on the packaging.

He told FOX 17 after the city commission vote that he was frustrated with the accusations. “I have no idea what I am going to do. I am very disappointed,” said Ajay Chhabra.

There were also reports dealing with servers giving booze to underage customers.

In 2011, a 19-year-old woman was arrested for operating while intoxicated after she crashed her car.

She told police she was served at The Venue.

Her statement reads, ‘When I walked in, a bouncer put a 21 and older wristband on my wrist and let me drink at the bar. I went inside drank approximately 4 or 5 cranberry vodkas…1 jager bomb and 3 or 4 shots.”

She also said the bouncer allowed her into the bar before and gave her a wristband at that time too.

An employee at the bar was suspended and police interviewed the head of security who said there were lots of minors drinking there and the bar had a reputation for not checking IDs.

Chhabra told us he was sometimes the very person to alert police to any problems and he felt in some ways he was being singled out.

“We called the cops because minors were out drinking in the parking lot and they tried to blame me for every single thing,” said Chhabra during an earlier interview. There was also a report of frequent after-hours service of alcohol.

An employee told police, “There are numerous LCC violations that take place at the bar, with a frequent violation of serving alcohol after the closing time.”

And, there was reported trouble in the parking lot with damage to cars.

One of four reports indicated that someone had “punched and damaged The Venue`s owner`s Chrysler.”

When looking at the number of calls, Chhabra said out of 57 calls for police service stemming from incidents near the bar in the last three years, only ten originated from inside the bar.

He said that’s typical for bars their size, pointing out that nobody has been stabbed, shot or seriously injured.