Liquor board to shut down Tiki Barge in July

Panel cites misleading statements from the floating bar's lawyer and neighborhood disruptions

  • The liquor board suspended Tiki Barge's license for the month of July.
The liquor board suspended Tiki Barge's license for the… (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore…)
April 28, 2011|By Sam Sessa, The Baltimore Sun

The liquor board Thursday suspended Tiki Barge's license for the month of July — peak season for the floating South Baltimore bar — for disturbing the peace and misleading statements from the bar's lawyer, according to liquor board chairman Stephan Fogleman.

Since Tiki Barge shares a liquor license with Sorso Cafe and the restaurant Tabrizi's, all three businesses will not be able to serve alcohol for 30 days, pending an appeal.

"When one goes, they're all affected," Fogleman said. "It may be unfortunate to the rest, but we can't suspend half a license."

The Tiki Barge, which opened last Memorial Day at the end of a dock in the Inner Harbor, drew ire from neighbors late in the summer. About 40 neighbors signed a petition accusing the bar's customers of public urination, nudity and "simulated sex with a potted palm tree," among other offenses.

Fogleman called the decision difficult. "I like the Tiki Barge," he said.

When the bar applied for its license last year, its lawyer gave the liquor board a letter of approval from a "community group" that was actually controlled by a developer, Fogleman said in a Twitter message. The lawyer also implied the bar would cater primarily to residents, which it hasn't, according to Fogleman.

"Going forward, we like the tiki barge," he wrote. "The penalty was for past misrepresentations and initial lax security."

The bar has 30 days to appeal the decision. The suspension could be overturned if the Tiki Barge owners reach an agreement with neighborhood residents, Fogleman said.

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