« Review: The Cult at Rams Head Live, Nov. 2; Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy as strong as they were in 1985 | Main | Review: Select Lounge, the West side's newest lounge »

November 4, 2010

Crime: Thirsty Turtle liquor license revoked; bar was site of October quadruple stabbing

A College Park bar with a rocky history will lose its liquor license later this month for admitting underage drinkers, Prince George's County Board of License Commissioners decided Wednesday night.

The three-year-old bar, the Thirsty Turtle, was the site of a fight in early October that resulted in four young men suffering stab wounds. But the decision by the license commissioners was the result of a separate incident from September involving underage drinkers, student newspaper The Diamondback first reported

In an interview, chairman Franklin Jackson cited the bar's prior license violations as his rationale. 

The hearing in Hyattsville last night stemmed from a September incident where two underage police aides successfully entered the Thirsty Turtle and were served beer. The students were sent by county liquor inspector John McGorty and University of Maryland, College Park Police to review the bar's admission policy.

At the hearing, the students recounted their experiences at the bar, and the bar's owners, Alan Wanuck and Tom Hall, described the incident as a "sting operation," The Diamondback reported. Jordan Reid, the bouncer who allowed them in, said it was a "lapse of judgment."

Wanuck also said the bouncer had been let go, and they implemented new security, like ID scanners in light of the incident.

But the commissioners were not swayed by their statements, and after two hours of testimony, they decided to unanimously suspend the bar's liquor license.

The decision won't be made final until November 23, when commissioners mail a letter with their final statement and reasoning. 

In a separate interview, Jackson said the decision was based on the September incident, not the stabbing. However, he also noted the bar had been cited before.

The Thirsty Turtle had been fined twice before by the liquor board, most recently in 2009, for serving an underage drinker. In October, the bar upset local law enforcement after four young men, including three under the age of 21, were stabbed outside the bar. 

"Our process is that we have a case before us, and we make our decision based on that case, which is what we did last night," Jackson said. 

Meanwhile, DC9, the U street bar where a Silver Spring man was killed after a fight with the club's employees, will remain closed for the next month.   

Lawyers for the club said their employees made a "citizen's arrest" when they tackled Ali Ahmed Mohammed on October 15.

But the Alcoholic Beverage Control board decided the bar was still an "imminent danger" and its liquor license would stay suspended until the end of the month, when the board meets again. 

Follow Midnight Sun on Facebook and Twitter @midnightsunblog
Posted by Erik Maza at 12:11 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: News


This title is inaccurate. The fight that ultimately resulted in the stabbings started at Turtle - over a bar stool. Bouncers kicked the parties out, and later on the stabbings occurred away from Turtle, outside of the Cornerstone. Turtle has long been known as the freshman bar and its closure has been long coming. There is no need, though to report it as "the site of a quadruple stabbing" when in fact it was not the site. Blatant disregard for the law is enough.

It's good to know that the decision to suspend the liquor license wasn't made based on thire stabbing incident in October; because the defendent(s) were both overage and legally admitted to the bar.

Um, no. 3 of the kids stabbed were underage and in the Turtle. That hearing is November 10th. This place was supposed to be a restaraunt but turned itself into an underage club. It was a direct threat to the safety of all around it.

"Turtle has long been known as the freshman bar "

It's three years old. What a long history! I can also guarantee that a good amount of underage drinking happens everywhere in College Park. It is, in fact, a college town, and college kids are going to figure out ways to drink and party.

College students always drink in college towns. I went to college at Penn two decades ago, and students always had local joints at which to drink. The city would periodically suspend the bars' liquor licenses, but they would always re-open.

The local news in DC also reported that the stabbings occurred in the bar. The reports also implied that there was a series of stabbings -- not multiple stabbings on one night.

I suspect that the city simply wanted the bar closed - probably because the University complained. 2 incidents of underaged drinking usually does not result in a complete revocation of a liquor license.

perhaps you need to read up on this stuff further. he was reloading bottles and got caught. he was letting in underage patrons and got caught. a year later he was caught again letting in underage students. a few weeks after being nailed, 3 underage students get in this place and get in a fight. thrown out, they continue it up the street. during the same timeframe his place is found to not be serving food as required by the license. the SGA at the university - the STUDENTS - banded together to call for its closing. Catholic University wants the place closed due to the impact it's had on their institution. all the owner did was show up and plea ignorance and pledge to do right - yet again. it is widely known in CP that this is the place for underage kids to drink 20 OZ rails for $1 and dollar pitchers of beer. they targeted young people and supplied them with too much to drink, endangering their lives and potential careers. Sum it up? Would you like to be the parent getting that call telling you that your kid is in the hospital due to being overserved and underage at this place? for 3 years this bar has been flying the finger to all around it. allowing it to continue would be criminal and negligent on the part of the county and city.

Yeah, kids will be kids until one of them dies. Then somebody will be lining up to sue the police, county, bar, and everyone else for failing to act timely. Who pays that bill? You got it. Us.

What do you expect when we have some of the most strict drinking laws in the world? I wish I understood what was going on in people's minds in the 70's when they changed this.

Looney's is expanding down there next Summer Again, they will transform a neighborhood..(see Canton, Bel Air & maple Lawn) Granted I am friends with these guys, but they know what they are doing and will finally bring a Rest/Bar to College Park that we all can enjoy..Congrats Bill & Steve another wise move

Come on Former Terp, you know that the different bars at that location, going back to the early 1980s (the Cellar of the 80s and 90s especially), have been known as "underage" bars! And yes, underage kids are going find ways to drink. Should we make it easier for them?

Um, Big Al, the three underage students that were stabbed were the victims, and not the criminals in this case. The perpetrators were the legal adults. Secondly, they were not stabbed at the Turtle, but outside, after leaving (voluntarily) the Turtle.

Another big part of the story is that the owner of the only other two major bars in College Park sits on the liquor board as well, so it's no surprise that any venture he doesn't have a stake in fails. Cornerstone and RJ Bentley's are no safer or more responsible about their business practices. He also chose just to shut Sante Fe Cafe down rather than putting in a mandatory sprinkler system. The guy runs the entire town and has to be making ridiculous bank at the expense of having a thriving college town.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Please enter the letter "j" in the field below:
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.

Most Recent Comments
Recent tweets
Sign up for FREE nightlife alerts*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Photo galleries
Stay connected