Establishments cited for serving alcohol to minors

Cassie Buchman, City Editor

Marty’s, Panther Paw and Dirty’s Bar and Grill failed compliance checks by serving alcohol to underage patrons sent by the Charleston Police Department on Saturday.

Establishments that passed the checks were Friends and Co., Lefty’s Holler, Roc’s Black Front Restaurant and Lounge, the Uptowner/Cellar, Charleston Lanes, Ike’s, El Rancherito, Jerry’s, Los Potrillos, Monicals, Pagliai’s, the Penalty Box, and WB’s Pub and Grub.

Each bartender and establishment who provided the alcohol was cited under a city ordinance.

Mayor Larry Rennels said although it is against both state law and city ordinance to serve alcoholic beverages to minors, the establishments will only be cited for an ordinance violation.

Rennels said there is no set schedule for when the police do compliance checks.

“Personally, we do them when we feel we need to do one,” he said. “That way, they are aware a check could happen any day or any time.”

The last compliance check was last fall, and the businesses cited were different from the recent check.

To figure out the consequences the establishments will face, there will be a hearing where the businesses can either admit to or deny the charges against them.

The hearing goes through the city attorney, and the establishments will go through the court system to find out the amount of their fine and other consequences.

If they deny the charges, the businesses will have a trial.

If it is the first violation in 12 months for these businesses, the minimum fine is $250. The maximum fine is $1,000. They can also potentially have either have a three-day suspension or a 30-day suspension of their liquor license.

A second offense results in a higher fine and longer suspension.

“In many cases, businesses have had a fine and suspension,” Rennels said.

The underage patrons who go undercover for the police department are found in various places.

Lt. Brad Oyer said there is no one place they go to find the patrons.

“We use officer’s children, students from Eastern, people the liquor control commission have passed on to us,” he said.

Many of the students from Eastern are interested in criminal justice.

Oyer said what happens to the businesses is completely up to the mayor, who acts as the liquor commissioner for Charleston.

“The mayor can choose to take action against the servers as well as the license holder,” he said.

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].