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Room Service Lounge slapped with alcohol code violations 

Northeast Atlanta club that's angered nearby residents disputes charges, might appeal citations

LAST CALL: Residents of nearby neighborhoods want Room Service Lounge to follow the rules.

Joeff Davis

LAST CALL: Residents of nearby neighborhoods want Room Service Lounge to follow the rules.

The Room Service Lounge, a northeast Atlanta nightclub that was recently slapped with hefty fines for several violations and has rankled nearby neighbors over the years, will be allowed to keep pouring booze while it fights the charges. And the lawyer who's arguing their case thinks they have a solid argument against the city.

Mayor Kasim Reed recently signed a recommendation from the city's license review board to impose a 360-day suspension of the liquor license and a $12,500 fine for breaking the city's alcohol code — considered to be one of the stiffest punishments in the city's history. The violations cited by the board include serving to minors, serving after hours, and refusing to allow police officers to enter the premises for an inspection.

According to Carlos Campos, a spokesman for Mayor Reed, said the lounge located near the intersection of Piedmont and Cheshire Bridge roads has 30 days to appeal the decision — and continue serving until the issue is resolved.

Atlanta City Councilman Alex Wan, who represents the area, said the complaints he's heard from community members are well represented in the board's recommendation. Since the lounge opened in 2010, according to police reports, officers have been called to its address more than 150 times to address complaints ranging from robberies-in-progress to multiple fights. City Council and the APD have continued to receive complaints from community members on a regular basis, Wan says. However, he thinks Room Service Lounge is particularly problematic due to shootings that have occurred there.

"Three separate instances since the beginning of 2014," Wan says. "To have this sort of public safety risk this close to nearby single-family residential areas is unacceptable."

According to reports provided by the APD to CL, two shootings occurred on Feb. 16 and Feb. 22 of this year. In the former incident, police said a security guard at the lounge suffered a gunshot wound to the chest after an unidentified male opened fire with "what was described as a Glock .40 with and extended clip" after he tried to escort a crowd outside. Another man was allegedly shot in the buttocks by "an unknown male for an unknown reason" on Feb. 22. According to an APD report, an officer dispatched to the lounge discovered the victim lying face down outside upon his arrival. A security guard at the location said he heard two pops that sounded like gunshots in the bathroom before the victim stumbled outside.

Alan Begner, the well-known attorney who's representing the lounge's owners, says his clients dispute the charges. For example, Begner says the lounge staff did allow police officers to enter at closing time for an inspection. As CL went to press, Begner was waiting to hear whether his clients want to appeal but expects to move forward. If so, the attorney thinks he could argue, among other claims, that the LRB was not authorized to hold a hearing without giving him notice.

"I have a very persuasive argument against the counts," he said.

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