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Billiards and Brews beer license suspended

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:58 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Knoxville bar Billiards and Brews on Tuesday went before the City of Knoxville Beer Board for a suspension or revocation hearing for the establishment’s beer license.

The hearing comes after repeated and so-called “flagrant” violations of the Knox County curfew on alcohol sales imposed by the Knox County Board of Health.

Multiple Knoxville Police Officers testified during the hearing saying they witnessed large crowds of people drinking at the bar after the 10 p.m. curfew, including one whose cruiser camera captured an interaction with patrons who were involved in a fight.

Multiple officers reported witnessing large crowds inside and a full parking lot at the business.

Sgt. Matt Gentry testified that the manager of the bar called police to the bar and requested that authorities issue him a citation. According to Gentry, he asked the manager what the establishment’s capacity limit was due to a large number of people present, and the manager reportedly said he didn’t know. Gentry said that the bar had already received at least 7 or 8 citations.

The hearing showed camera footage of the multiple officers responding to the call made by the manager. The manager is heard saying on the camera footage after 1:00 a.m. that the owner of the bar was forcing him to work.

Officer Amy Jinks testified during the hearing saying she spoke to Owens and he said he would rather be closed and be with his family but the owner told him “he had to work.”

On Wednesday, the board made a decision to suspend the bar’s beer license for at least 75 days. The suspension will continue until the permittee agrees to comply.

“Billiards & Brews is by far the single most flagrant violator of the Board of Health’s pandemic safety measures,” Mayor Kincannon said. “Testimony from the Knoxville Police Department, in fact, showed that the bar’s 18 citations over three months set a record for the most in recent memory. The bar owner and managers repeatedly made conscious decisions to violate the law, and those decisions - during a health emergency that has killed more than 500 Knox County residents - put our community unnecessarily in greater danger.”

Billiards and Brews has been cited at least 18 times since the curfew was initially imposed and will be fined for each citation along with costs for holding the hearing.

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