UPDATED: Judge Orders City to Approve Kirkwood Bar & Grill's Liquor License

City has 10 days from July 2 to give license.

A Fulton County Superior Court Judge overturned Mayor Kasim Reed's to a Kirkwood bar owner on Monday.

Judge John J. Goger's order requires the city grant the Kirkwood Bar & Grill and its owner, David Johnson, the license no later than July 12.

"The judge ruled there was no evidence to deny him the license," Johnson's attorney, Alan I. Begner, told East Atlanta Patch Monday. "I’m happy and so is David."

A spokeswoman for Reed said the city is studying how it will respond.

"The City will carefully review Judge Goger's order when it is entered and will then determine the appropriate next steps," Sonji Jacobs Dade told Patch.

The bar had been dark for several days, fueling speculation that it closed. Begner said it proved difficult to operate a sports bar, without having the ability to sell liquor.

The ruling is the latest in the long-running row between the Kirkwood neighborhood and Johnson over bar at 1963 Hosea L. Williams Dr.

Johnson's bar is an anchor business of the Kirkwood Station retail and residential complex.

But residential neighbors and fellow business owners in the complex have complained Johnson fails to abide by the rules that govern Kirkwood Station, by staying open later than allowed, placing signs in the right-of-way or illegally parking his vehicle.

They also object to the tinted and reflective glass — which doesn't allow a view of what's going on inside — in violation of city codes regulating Kirkwood's commercial district.

The reflective tint also violates the bylaws that govern Kirkwood Station, neighbors say.

Johnson, whio is black, has said the dispute between him and his neighbors stems from race and that there is a vocal minority of people in Kirkwood who oppose him because it.

It's a charge many in the neighborhood .

The judge's order comes amidst a citywide .

Bar owners complain the process is too cumbersome; neighhood leaders say their input isn't given enough weight.

"I understand that neighborhoods have a right to be part of the analysis and they have the right to oppose an application," Begner said. "But with the neighbohood planning units, some of them have an enhanced view of the rules by which they should participate."

Begner said he hopes the two sides in Kirkwood can come together for the betterment of the neighborhood.

"I told him when he gets his license, he's going to have to be a good neighbor," Begner said. "He’s going to have to get invoved and convince him that they should welcome him instead of fighting him."

Péralte Paul July 18, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Thanks, kirkwood roots. I'll follow up and see what the deal is.
Stacey July 24, 2012 at 05:15 AM
A bit off topic but someone above posted "And yes, a restaurant can survive without an alcohol permit - the local pizza joint has been BYOB for 5 years and is awesome." Guess what? Not legal in City of Atlanta! 10-3(a) It shall be a violation of this chapter for any premises, that performs or undertakes any type of operation or activity for which a occupation tax certificate issued pursuant to Chapter 30 is required to be operated in a manner that allows any person to consume alcoholic beverages at such premises unless a license issued under this chapter allowing on premises consumption of alcoholic beverages has first been obtained. This prohibition shall apply without regard to whether the alcoholic beverages are provided free of charge as a part of any promotion by the owner of the premises or operator of the business, given as prizes in connection with any type of contests or raffles, given as bonuses or inducements offered in connection with the purchases of goods and/or services, brought onto the premises by other persons or otherwise made available. Any person employed by the business and who is present at the time when alcoholic beverages are being consumed at a non-licensed premises or location maybe charged with this offense." *********** (Code 1977, § 14-2003; Ord. No. 2004-68, § 3, 10-8-04; Ord. No. 2011-35(11-O-1137), § 2, 8-24-11)
Stacey July 24, 2012 at 05:29 AM
The above ordinance was passed rather quietly last year and helps to address inequities in the rules that businesses with alcohol licenses must follow vs non-licensees. It has helped mostly in reducing the number of parties in warehouse and other unlicensed venues. But this pizza place that is mentioned that allows BYOB is (in theory) allowing people to drink (very cheaply, by the way) on the premises, whereas a competing restaurant with an alcohol license has a tremendous amount of other fees and costs incurred to allow this. Can anyone see how this is not really fair to the business that has the license? [Disclosure: My spouse is the agent for 2 liquor licenses in the City of Atlanta.] Also, anyone who has to rely upon saying that having "2 for 1" or other drink specials is "illegal" may be technically correct but is grasping at straws. Even the Atlanta Alcohol Technical Advisory Group II is leaning towards recommending that the City change these laws because they are so broadly violated. Certainly there is some validity to having some type of law that prohibits extreme business practices which would encourage binge drinking, etc., but offering a special lower price on, for example, margaritas every Wednesday night should not be illegal. Get educated on this topic here: http://clatl.com/atlanta/unhappy-hour/Content?oid=1283676
Mark October 03, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Mark October 03, 2012 at 03:52 PM
The doors are back locked with.chains


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