Champs Denies Charge Of Allowing After-hours Drinking

January 09, 1991|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff writer

Champs Restaurant in Westminster denied charges Tuesday that a womandrank beer at the bar after hours on Dec. 1.

The bar manager saidthe woman was an employee and was clearing tables when liquor board administrator J. Ronald Lau entered the bar at about 1:30 a.m.

Lau said the woman appeared to be a customer and was talking to aman who also appeared to be a customer.

County liquor law says bars and restaurants may not permit anyone to drink alcohol 15 minutes after the business closes.

The liquor board will make a decision about the charge within 30 days. Champs, on West Main Street, could befined and its license suspended if found guilty.

Abby Lynn Potter, 21, of Westminster, a waitress at Champs, testified that at 1:30 a.m. she was clearing bottles and glasses off tables after the bar hadclosed. She said she stopped to talk to Gerald Hooper of Hampstead, a doorman at Champs who was sitting at the bar.

She said she had abeer bottle that she had cleared from a table in her hand, but that she was not drinking from it.

Hooper testified he was sitting at the bar waiting to continue his clean-up duties and that he had his coat on because he had been outside. He also said Potter did not drink from the bottle.

Lau testified that he saw Potter put the bottle on the bar, but did not see her drink from it.

Lau said Potter and Hooper did not appear to be dressed in Champs employee uniforms -- green shirts and khaki pants.

Kevin Muse, bar manager that night, testified that Potter was wearing the green shirt under a white cardigan sweater. Hooper said he was wearing a green shirt under his coat.

Muse said the only people in the bar when Lau came in were employees.

Also on Tuesday, the board discussed with the owners complaintsit received about the House of Pasta in Manchester and Fergie's in Sykesville. No formal charges were filed against the restaurants.

Lau said after receiving complaints about "rowdy" and intoxicated persons at Fergie's, on Main Street, he visited the restaurant Dec. 8 and9. Some people leaving the bar were screaming and using vulgar language, he said.

"Either Fergie's caters to a lot of animals or they are serving people to the point of intoxication," Lau wrote in his report.

Owner Howard Ferguson said he has had problems with people loitering in the parking lot and has called the town police. He also said the town manager has agreed to hang a "No loitering" sign in the lot, which the town owns.

Lau also said he has received complaintsfrom police and neighbors about rowdy and intoxicated persons at theHouse of Pasta on Main Street. He observed the restaurant Dec. 1 and2 and said he saw a person leave with an open beer and that others were drinking outside after the bar closed, but that patrons were not noisy.

Owner Jack Singh said he would begin checking the street outside the bar after closing and that he has stopped selling single bottles or cans of beer to go.

Singh and co-owner Gino DePalmer saidthey regularly stop serving alcohol to people who appear drunk.

In other business:

* Owners of the China Lion restaurant in Cranberry Mall in Westminster have requested a license to sell beer, wine and liquor.

The Chinese restaurant opened Nov. 28 in the space formerly occupied by the Jumbo Inn, a Polynesian restaurant that closed inmid-November.

Wai Kwong Yip and Che Hunn Chan, both of Columbia, Howard County, applied with Westminster accountant Charles C. Davis for the license.

* Bruce I. Reamer of Eldersburg applied for a license to sell hard liquor at Salerno's Restaurant in the 1000 block of Liberty Road in Eldersburg. The restaurant now sells beer and wine.

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