Southeast bar owner told to give up license

April 25, 2006|By LYNN ANDERSON | LYNN ANDERSON,SUN REPORTER

The city liquor board has ordered the owner of a Southeast Baltimore bar to give up his license after neighbors complained about unruly patrons and the bar was cited for serving liquor to minors.

At a hearing Thursday, the board ordered Juan R. Diaz, who runs Diaz Sports Tavern at 100 S. Bouldin St. near Patterson Park, to transfer his liquor license within 90 days and close the bar by May 1.

Diaz was fined $3,000 in October for serving alcohol to a minor and failing to keep employee records at the bar. Diaz also was fined for serving a minor in February 2005.

Diaz is the second bar owner this year to lose a license. In January, the liquor board forced the owner of Joe's Tavern in the 1000 block of Dundalk Ave. to sell her license. Joe's Tavern has a long history of criminal activity, including gambling, prostitution and underage drinking.

Diaz's neighbors have complained frequently to state elected officials and liquor board administrators about noise and other disturbances, including public urination, defecation and vomiting. Their efforts were included in a July article in The Sun that focused on the growing tension between neighborhood groups and the liquor board over problem bars.

Since then, the makeup of the liquor board has changed and the former executive secretary, Nathan C. Irby Jr., has been fired. This month, Irby, a former state senator, filed documents in court to try to get his job back. A court hearing on the matter has yet to be set.

Patterson Park-area residents worked with the Community Law Center to protest the renewal of Diaz's liquor license at the hearing Thursday. "It is refreshing to see the liquor board both listen and respond to the concerns of the neighborhood," said Kristine Dunkerton, executive director of the law center.

lynn.anderson@baltsun.com

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