Liquor board shuts embattled Rumblefish bar

May 23, 2002|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Saying that it needed to put an end to an out-of-control nightclub, the Anne Arundel County liquor board has shut Rumblefish and will revoke the Glen Burnie club's license unless the establishment has new owners.

"Rumblefish is gone," Richard C. Bittner, liquor board chairman, said yesterday of what technically is a temporary shutdown ordered at a hearing late Tuesday night. "If it comes back, it is going to come back as a completely different entity."

The board's decision came after the club admitted to 14 of 39 liquor law violations. The three-commissioner board fined the club $10,000, the heftiest fine it has ever meted out, suspended its license for 30 days and said that if new owners are not in place by July 9, the club's liquor license would be gone the next day.

The board also said it might prohibit the club from reopening after the suspension by revoking or temporarily suspending the license again on June 25, if a liquor license transfer is sought by then.

"I have no comment," said Pamela Lyons, president of the company that owns Rumblefish. The Liquor board barred her, her manager and their families from the club.

License restrictions put an end to wet T-shirt contests, all-you-can consume "drinkin' with Lincoln" nights, patio service and other events that the commissioners said led to allegations that included serving minors, women being accosted and alcohol and drug use in the parking lot.

In recent years, police have alleged that disputes there led to large brawls, neighbors complained about noise and officials contended that patrons cars' illegally blocked emergency vehicle access.

Potential buyer Mike Ballard, who has been operating the club without incident for five weeks, said he doesn't know whether the restrictions will prove too harsh for him to complete the purchase. But he intends to decide within days.

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