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May 17, 2011

Sonar regains liquor license; books Yob for July show

sonarliquor.JPGSonar has regained its liquor license. That's it at right. Club management posted it on Facebook Monday, lest there be any doubt about its validity.

The new license allowed the club to start selling alcohol immediately. Michael Stewart, who had been involved with Sonar since its Canton beginnings, is the new licensee, taking over from founder Lonnie Fisher. 

The renewal fulfills at least one of Dan McIntosh's promises. The club's acting general manager said last week the license would be renewed by Monday. 

It also closes a fevered chapter in the club's history that began with an announced shutdown in early May, alarm over sold tickets, a re-opening, and then uncertainty about upcoming shows. 

Sonar's liquor license expired on May 1 because of a business dispute between Fisher, the license holder until now, and the club's owners.

There are still disagreements between Fisher and the club's current management, which includes McIntosh. Fisher has said the club has a tax liability, while McIntosh insists taxes have been paid off. 

For now, metal fans can rest assured that they won't have to watch Coroner sober when the Maryland Deathfest takes place at Sonar later this month.

"We had an attorney look at the process and found a way to get the license to the new holder and allow Sonar to return to business as usual, which benefited all parties," Fisher said Monday night.

Fisher said he had taken steps to take his name off the license since he sold his last shares in 2009.  But the new owners had not completed the proper paperwork.

McIntosh said last week the transfer had been in the works for a year and a half, when Stewart first applied for it with the liquor board. But it had not been processed until after April 30, when the club became tax-compliant.

He initially blamed Fisher for not renewing the club's license and causing its shutdown.

The new license became effective Monday and will expire April 30, 2012.

The club has continued to book new shows despite the recent upheaval. Oregon metal band has been scheduled to perform there July 17 on its first tour in six years.  

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Posted by Erik Maza at 11:16 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Bars & Clubs, News


Can you change the name on a Liq License without a hearing? And sonar never even filed to renew their license so wouldnt you have to go through the process of obtaining a license since theirs should have no longer existed? All of this seems vey shady.

I'd like to see their long form liquor license.

I am still waiting for the liars and thieves at Sonar to post the videos from Insubordination Fest '10 where the bathrooms were allegedly destroyed by concert goers. This venue is a dump and I for one was happy when it briefly shut down.

@anon - dunno about the name change, i've been told it's easy to change names on a liquor license, but i don't know for sure.

as far as the license not existing anymore, i'm sure there is a 30 day (or more) grace period if you forget to renew your license, that would probably apply in this case.

Also I think they are fairly lenient about taking them back, Martick's was supposed to have lost their liquor license many many months ago, for example (since they closed years ago) but i still see their classified ad in the citypaper trying to sell it, week after week.

Sessa - you made me spit out my coffee. Good one.

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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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