The Hooters at Citadel Mall, part of an international chain that bills itself as “delightfully tacky yet unrefined,” was up for a suspension and revocation hearing of its liquor license this morning.
But the City Attorney’s Office withdrew the charge of serving alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person June 23 for lack of evidence, and the city’s liquor board dismissed the case.
Attorney Vince Linenden, who represented Hooters, said the case was dismissed because the restaurant produced a videotape to dispute the allegations.
“Hooters had a videotape showing the arrival, the duration and these guys leaving, so you’re able to see the entire visit to the premises,” he said. “Just viewing the tape would not have indicated that the person was visibly intoxicated. Unlike the police report, the person never staggered, never used tables and chairs for assistance.”
Linden said the detectives said the customer appeared visibly intoxicated from their perspective.
But “they never had any interaction with him. They never did any field testing,” he said.
“What if I didn’t have that tape? How in the world would you even defend yourself from these allegations?”
The charge could have landed Hooters in a mountain of trouble.
Last year, Hooters’ liquor license was suspended for 15 days for allegedly serving alcohol to an underage confidential informant and selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
Under an agreement with the city, Hooters pleaded guilty to selling alcohol to a minor and no contest to selling alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
As part of the deal, 12 days were held in abeyance for a year and the city agreed to let Hooters pay a $533 fine in lieu of serving a suspension for the other three days.
When a suspension is held in abeyance, that meant that Hooters couldn’t violate the liquor code in the next 12 months or its liquor license will be suspended for those 12 days.
Hooters’ attorney, Paul Lumbye, did not immediately return a call for comment.