Milan must retire its nightclub act, court decides

  • An advertisement for a Memorial Day weekend event at Milan. A similar ad is attached to an affidavit for a civil case in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City
An advertisement for a Memorial Day weekend event at Milan.…
May 31, 2012|By Richard Gorelick | The Baltimore Sun

Milan's dancing days are over. The Little Italy establishment is now prohibited from allowing or providing live entertainment,  including disc jockeys, on its premises.

The decision was made Thursday in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore City in what amounted to a default hearing. No one representing Milan showed up.

Milan's opponents have long claimed that the establishment was a nightclub masquerading as a restaurant, and have repeatedly pressed the Baltimore City Liquor License Board to take action. And while the liquor board has historically been the agency to discipline and sanction license-holding establishments, it was the Department of Housing and Community Development that scored the injunction against Milan. Milan must now be a restaurant, the court says, which is the only thing its zoning status allows it to be.

It came down to zoning. An affidavit entered by the plaintiffs for Thursday's hearing says that Milan'sLittle Italy property isn't zoned for what Milan is using it for, namely live entertainment. The affidavit summarizes an undercover visit by a zoning inspector who had to pay a $40 "double cover charge" to enter Milan and observed dancing and disc jockeys playing live music on both the first and second floor. "The music stopped only," the affidavit says, "when there was a fight on the first floor that necessitated the dispersal of the patrons in Milan."

Just months after its January 2010 opening, Milan survived an attempt by a neighborhood group to have its liquor license voided.  But in February of this year, Milan was hit with $3,000 in fines for a slew of violations, including failing to avoid disturbing the peace and selling alcohol to a minor, not to mention a rodent infestation and unsanitary conditions. And on April 12, Milan had its license suspended by the board for one week although it has remained open pending appeal.


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