The Havana Club finally won approval from Neighborhood Planning Unit B (NPU-B) for its liquor license Nov. 6, but not without a lot of discussion about the owner’s earlier club problems in the Buckhead Village and not without conditions being attached to the approval.
Mahash Harjani is reopening the night club at 3112 Piedmont Road after it became a victim to the demolition of the old Buckhead Village to make way for The Streets of Buckhead. He had to seek a new liquor license for the new location and it has been pending before NPU-B for months.
Part of the delay was because Harjani had been out of the country the previous month when the club’s license request was on the agenda of the NPU’s Human Services Committee, which handles liquor license reviews.
Members of the committee had previously asked several questions, which Harjani and his agent answered in writing previous to the Nov. 6 meeting. That didn’t minimize the questioning of Harjani and his agent at the committee meeting, however.
In addition to the Havana Club, Harjani had also owned a night club named Frequency in Buckhead Village. Frequency did not have a good reputation and, in fact, there were two liquor law violations at Frequency.
Harjani admitted the problems with Frequency, claiming it became a victim of when several clubs in the Village changed to appeal t the gangster element. He said, however, that Havana Club has an older clientele, 25-60 years of age. “Havana has a reliable, consistent, legal clientele,” Harjani told the committee.
The main problem the Havana Club had with the committee is that it does not meet the on-sight parking requirements of the city and will have to apply for a parking variance.
NPU board member Sally Silver pointed out that the NPU had never voted on a liquor license when a necessary parking variance had not yet been granted.
Harjani’s agent suggested a conditional approval and said they would not take the license request to the License Review Board until they have the permit. He said they had talked to the owner of parking lots to the right of the new club.
It was pointed out that the license permit is based on having the parking. If the parking should go away, the city can revoke the permit.
Sally Silver asked that one condition be that the owner give his personal cell phone number to members of the NPU board so that he can be reached if there are any problems. He agreed.
The liquor license was approved by the NPU with conditions previously required by the Peachtree Park neighborhood and subject to obtaining the parking variance.
In other liquor license business, the NPU committee was visited again by Trader Joe’s grocery store, which, according to information from months ago, is to open on Peachtree Road across from the Methodist church in what previously was an office supply store.
The Trader Joe’s representative said they finally have the building permit issue worked out with the city, but had to return to get the liquor license approved again because the store manager had changed. The committee was told the store likely will not open until late spring, about six months. The license request was easily approved.
Also approved were licenses for the American Café at Phipps Plaza and Seasons 52 on Peachtree road, both for change of agents and the Flying Biscuit, which is to open late this month or early December at Terminus, at the corner of Peachtree and Piedmont roads.