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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

ABC Drops Charges Against Great American Music Hall

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 at 11:39 AM

DOUG BOEHM FOR SF WEEKLY
  • Doug Boehm for SF Weekly
In the ridiculous war between the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and San Francisco's all-ages clubs, one venue has been freed from the tangle of official bureaucracy. ABC announced today that it is dismissing its case against Great American Music Hall.

This came after an administrative law judge decided that ABC had relied upon ambiguous regulations to make charges against the club. The ruling falls in line with public opinion that the state agency's regulations box night clubs into a corner by forcing them to apply for liquor licenses as restaurants when they're in fact a completely different business, among other issues.

ABC noted in a press statement that it disagrees with the ruling, but nonetheless is dropping its case against Great American. It is also planning on clarifying exactly what clubs need to do in order to keep their licenses. In the statement, ABC vowed to "establish clear standards for licensee compliance...so licensees understand their obligations."

As we reported back in May, all-ages clubs were upset over being taken to task for minor operating changes (changing their opening hours by an hour, for example, or not making 50 percent of their revenue in food sales). In the meantime, the lawyers' fees involved in fighting these ABC actions were taxing the clubs during an already difficult economic time. Hopefully this is the first positive step of many in finding a workable resolution for all the clubs involved, a list that includes Bottom of the Hill, Slim's, and Cafe du Nord.





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Ian S. Port

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