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August 25, 2009

A bar owner's responsibility shouldn't stop at the sidewalk

There is a larger, more important issue with the whole Suite Ultralounge saga: It shouldn't have gone this far in the first place.

It shouldn't have come down to the liquor board revoking the license, or a judge ruling over whether or not the liquor board had the proper authority to shutter the club.

Louis V. Wood, Suite's owner, should have stopped this violence as soon as it started -- whether it was inside or outside his bar ...

Legally, a bar owner's responsibility might stop at the sidewalk. But if there are frequent shootings and beatings outside a club, bar owners can't just leave it to the police to clean up the mess. They need to tackle the problem before it begins.

Take Club One, for example. Several months ago, two patrons were shot outside the downtown club. To prevent further violence, the club hired bouncers with bullet-resistant vests and flex cuffs to pat down customers and patrol the area outside the club. They made sure club goers didn't congregate long outside the building, according to a piece by Sun reporter Peter Hermann (read his blog, Baltimore Crime Beat, here).

That's an extreme case of club owners taking things into their own hands. But that sounds like what was necessary at Suite Ultralounge soon after it opened. Instead, we got a spate of violence.

If customers are causing a ruckus inside a bar or club, the owners need to cut them off and threaten to ban them from coming back. If violence happens outside a bar or club, the owners need to hire enough security to keep the peace. It's as simple as that.

Otherwise, the bar or club needs to be firmly and swiftly punished. To that end, it's a shame this hasn't happened with Suite Ultralounge. I hope for the sake of neighborhood residents and the non-violent patrons of this club that Suite Ultralounge is shut down before someone dies.

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:29 AM | | Comments (14)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Couldn't agree more Sam. And it is absolutely ridiculous that an establishment with this little sense of community responsibility is allowed to stay open by a judge who is ignoring the big picture of what is happening to Mount Vernon at night over a meaningless technicality.

But back to the owners of Suite Ultralounge. These scumbags actually want the money of those randomly attacking innocent people on the street and are fighting tooth and nail to keep such an environment in business. It's disgusting. These people should not only be put out of business but should be subject to criminal charges themselves as accessories. In the meantime, any enterprising lawyers reading this should seriously consider taking up the cases of those attacked in the Mount Vernon area by patrons of Suite Ultralounge. If the city won't shut the place down, the community should try to bleed the club dry through multiple legal actions.

I'm just glad I was still in Brewers when the 12 shots were fired. I don't like walking by the Belvedere when that club lets out--my friends have been harrassed frequently and I've been shoved into the street once for no apparent reason.

heard the liquor board went gangbusters in fed hill last night. i am surprised that the city has not stepped in to shut down suite. it is affecting some heavy taxpayers, and that kind of noise is usually not ignored. it just seems insanely out of place in that area.

Has anybody checked to see how the residents of the Belvedere, or the other establishments, feel about having this club in the basement. Doesn't it hurt their business to have people feel unsafe and threatened? I can't imagine that they're happy with the situation. Since the city doesn't feel compelled to do anything about it, maybe pressure on the Belvedere owners would work.

This ongoing problem, and the inability of the city to do anything about it, is seriously causing me to think about leaving Baltimore. I was out at about 11 on a Friday night two weeks ago and have never felt so unsafe in this city. And I've been mugged.

Bill, what happened with the liquor board and federal hill?

Under Age cadets out in force attempting to be served. Rumor is they got the Hill.


Two establishments got hit for serving underage. Not very earth shattering IMHO.

just because 2 were fined does not mean they were the only 2 tested.

heard zink was one of the ones that got banged up.


Nope, we didn't get busted for anything. I heard two place, not mentioning names, got caught serving underage cadets. We might have been tested but if so my staff did a good job. And you're right TH, not earth shattering at all. Bartenders are not detective and if somebody has a good ID then they are going to get in 9 out of 10 places.

Jason Z

All the local bars are tested when there is a Raven's game sweep, but don't know if that qualifies for an "out in force" description. Cadets do not carry guns. I mean,'s not like a dangerous Phish concert.

Two cited out of 25+ bars. Pretty low percentage.

I'm not sure what getting "banged up" means, but I'll wait for Jason's take on the situation.

@Jason - knew you were not involved, but thanks for the update anyway

jason, my apologies. i frequent your bars, and have always had fun. i was misinformed. i was told that he received a hefty fine (hence the banged up comment used in a way to represent a fight of sorts), but i believe the man himself. his reputation on here is stellar.

Tomato Head-

No situation to speak of, I didn't see any cadets, thankfully. I would hate to go see Mr. Fogelman with my head down and between my legs.

That is a pretty low percentage, I am kind of surprise that one place didn't have a doorperson.

I wonder if the new parking signs had any affect on local business last night;(

i love how the city can spend so many resources trying to bust some kids in fed hill, when there are known underaged kids involved in this mt. vernon situation that directly has related to serious violence.

then again...nothing surprises me in this city anymore.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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