A North Laurel bar known for its scantily clad dancers turned in its liquor license yesterday and changed its format to a bring-your-own-booze private club with nude dancers.
Without a liquor license, Good Guys Bar & Grill is no longer subject to the regulations of the Howard County Liquor Board, which in April fined the bar over its dancers and suspended its liquor license.
Thomas Meachum, the attorney representing the restaurant, said the move was prompted by financial problems.
He said that Benham Zangenah, owner of the restaurant, told him it had been difficult to maintain financial viability under the liquor board regulations. "He had to make a decision to either keep the license or give up the license and have more flexible entertainment options," Mr. Meachum said.
Mr. Zangenah, who also owns a topless bar in Washington, D.C., could not be reached for comment.
The restaurant, which started its new operation at 11 a.m. yesterday, is charging a $10 annual membership fee and a $10 walk-in fee.
Customers are permitted to bring their own liquor. The club will feature continuous dancing with a new show every 15 minutes, according to a restaurant employee.
In April, the Howard County Liquor Board fined the restaurant $1,000 and suspended its liquor license for seven days.
The County Council, sitting as the liquor board, determined that the restaurant allowed female dancers to dance obscenely, expose private body parts and let male customers touch them and stuff money into their costumes.
After the board's ruling, the dancers were required to wear shorts and halter tops.
County Council chairwoman, Shane Pendergrass, D-1, whose district includes North Laurel, said she will consult the county Office of Law to determine whether the county has authority over private clubs.
"It's very disappointing to me because they billed themselves as a restaurant," Ms. Pendergrass said of Good Guys Bar & Grill.
"I know the community has had concerns, and it's appearing their concerns are proving out."