published Friday, October 21st, 2011

Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board pulls 807 Fire and Ice’s license to sell beer

by Naomi Jagoda
The 807 Fire and Ice club is located on Market Street.
The 807 Fire and Ice club is located on Market Street.
Photo by Jake Daniels.
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The Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board unanimously voted Thursday to immediately revoke the license of The 807 Fire and Ice nightclub.

The revocation only applies to beer. Fire and Ice, at 807 Market St., still can sell wine and liquor.

Several residents from the Loveman’s on Market condominium building across the street from the club spoke during the hearing.

Attorney Rick Hitchcock, who is representing some Loveman’s tenants, showed three videos taken by a resident depicting a disorder around Fire and Ice on Sept. 25.

When resident Anne Youmans stood in front of the microphone after the video ended, she was teary.

“I have four small children. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Youmans said she is happy with the beer board’s decision, and that the next step is to get Fire and Ice’s liquor license revoked by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Police said at a previous meeting that from Jan. 1 to Sept. 15, they had received 53 calls to Fire and Ice’s address, though not all calls specifically related to the establishment.

On Sept. 15, the Beer Board suspended Fire and Ice’s license for 30 days as a result of a disorderly crowd incident Aug. 14.

At Thursday’s meeting, Fire and Ice again was accused of operating a disorderly business related to an incident on Sept. 10.

When the club turned its lights on about 2:30 a.m. that day, police saw several thrown beer bottles flying through the air inside the bar, according to the complaint. Several people began fighting and the melee spilled onto the sidewalk, the complaint said.

Fire and Ice’s security had to physically restrain several people and wrestle them outside, and police could not get inside through a large crowd blocking the door, the complaint stated. One arrest was listed on the complaint, though the charge was not specified.

At Thursday’s hearing, Chattanooga police officer Adam Cooley defended the actions of Fire and Ice security during the Sept. 25 incident.

“They were working really hard,” Cooley said. “The crowd [was] just refusing to obey orders.”

Still, Cooley said, he would describe Fire and Ice as a disorderly place.

Kelly Burkett, who runs Fire and Ice, said he knew of only one bottle thrown on Sept. 10. He said someone was trying to throw the bottle into the garbage. He also said the security staff has asked troublemaking patrons not to come back.

Fire and Ice’s lawyer, Arvin Reingold, asked Cooley whether people involved in unruly behavior have been inside or outside the club. Cooley said this was the only incident he’s reported that happened inside Fire and Ice, a point Reingold stressed.

But Beer Board Vice Chairman Christopher Keene said repeated complaints from nearby residents played a role in his decision to revoke Fire and Ice’s the license.

“We’re not going to be in a police state,” Keene said before the vote. “We have a cancer in downtown Chattanooga, and we’re going to take it out.”

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