How hard is it to close a bar?
So just how difficult is it to close a bar?
Last year, after a string of shootings and other drug violence along Belair Road, the cops padlocked Club 410. The manager, a law student, fought back at an administrative hearing, but lost.
Then the feds came and indicted that very same manager as being part of a violent drug gang. She's now in federal lockup awaiting trial. Then the liquor board stripped the owners -- one them a city school employee -- of their license to sell alcohol. They handed the license to the landlord and ordered him to sell it to someone else. Meanwhile, no booze could be sold.
Then, on Saturday, the man leasing the club from the landlord throws a party that the cops bust. Inside, police say alcohol was being sold. Outside, police say, were two security guards impersonating cops and carrying loaded .40 caliber Glocks.
After a story appeared on the arrests of the guards and the police raid, the man leasing the space, Antonio Jackson, called me to complain. The party, he was, was a private affair for Morgan State University students. There weren't 350 inside, as police told me, but 176, the number of tickets he had printed.
Tickets? For a private party?
Yep, he told me he charged $5 a person for a cover charge. But he insisted the money wasn't for alcohol. He limited each patron to one drink. Had the money been for alcohol, his landlord would run afoul of state liquor laws. It's a close call, the liquor board chairman told me, and difficult to prove that the cover went for beer.
But who throws a college party and charges students $5 to get in and gives them only one beer? And what college student would come?
To prove he's on the up-and-up, Jackson stopped by the The Baltimore Sun lobby on Tuesday to show me his lease and other documents. His occupany permit lists the old Club 410 as the new Klub Kidz, listed as a dance studio for children ages 4 to 16.
And so the first event he throws is a beer party for college graduates.