Bar-goers looking to drink this past weekend at Campus Court Plaza club, The Firehall, were greeted with something unusual at the door — a notice indicating that establishment’s liquor license was suspended.
On Saturday, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) issued an interim suspension of The Firehall’s liquor license and a notice of proposal to revoke the license indefinitely.
“The AGCO believes that the safety of the patrons and the general public is called into question and so the AGCO is proposing to revoke the license,” said Lisa Murray, a spokesperson for the AGCO.
The majority of the allegations stemmed from overcrowding.
The initial infractions date back to September 2012, with six reported incidents of the venue exceeding its capacity since Jan. 20 of this year. The main room of The Firehall has a legal capacity of 240 persons. According to Murray, in one instance, there were 436 people in attendance. Incidences of serving alcohol to minors and over-serving patrons were also observed.
Murray explained, “Essentially, patrons were pouring drinks out of bottles directly into each other’s mouths and some of this involved minors as well.”
The Firehall opened at the 140 University Ave West location in September 2012. According to Murray, adequate notice of infractions was given. A meeting was held by the AGCO with Firehall representatives on March 7, which was followed up by a letter on March 11 to go over the alleged problems. The establishment was also notified when each incident occurred .
“They always know. It never just sort of shows up later,” said Murray. “The inspector at the time will speak to whoever is in charge … and advise them that there has been a breach and that they will be submitting a report on this incident.”
The suspension occurred after “the licensee disregarded the safety of its staff and patrons again on March 16 by again exceeding its legal capacity and permitting these minors to consume alcohol,” said Murray.
The Firehall has 15 days to request a hearing with the AGCO license appeal tribunal.
“The licensee would give evidence why the interim suspension should be lifted and why the licence should not be revoked,” Murray said, on what would occur at an appeal. “The AGCO would provide evidence on why the interim suspension should stay in place until a determination as to whether the license should be revoked has been completed and I’m sure would argue that the licence should be revoked and give examples of why.”
Firehall management declined to comment, indicating that they are waiting for a appeal with the AGCO.