Behind-the-scenes bar stories: I'll take that!
Here at Midnight Sun, we spend a lot of time discussing bars and clubs from the patron's point of view.
But I don't think we dig too deeply into the business side of the entertainment industry. I'm going to try and change that in the next couple weeks.
Let's start with an interesting factoid that, if you don't own a bar, you probably aren't aware of: Bars have to purchase all their booze from a licensed state distributor.
If a bar owner runs out of Pabst Blue Ribbon (which should never be a problem), the manager can't just run to the nearest liquor store and buy some more. If they get caught doing it, bad things happen.
Take, for example, the case of the AIG Lounge, at 291 S. Pulaski St.
Talk about a bar with an unfortunate name, by the way. Back in January, liquor board inspectors paid a visit to AIG Lounge, where they discovered that none of the booze behind the bar came from a licensed distributor.
Uh oh ...
All in all, inspectors confiscated 281 bottles of distilled spirits, three bottles of wine and 1060 containers of beer. Ouch!
A quick aside: How annoying is it to count all 1060 bottles and cans of beer? Unless, of course, the inspectors were tallying them as they drank them! I jest, I jest.
Also, what happens to all this confiscated booze? [Insert joke about late night liquor board raver.]
Anyhow, the AIG Lounge's hearing was last week, but nobody from the bar showed up. They pull one more no-show and their liquor license could be yanked, I'm told.
Cases like this pop up every once in a while, and if it's a first-time, offense, the liquor board usually fines the bar $500. Why such a small fine? Well, the bar already has to replace their entire stock. Adding a $10,000 fine on top of that is overkill, according to liquor board comissioner Stephan Fogleman.
I'll let you know what becomes of the AIG Lounge's case. And stay tuned for more behind-the-scenes bar stories this week.
(Baltimore Sun archive photo)