Arif Lounge at 2847 Buford Highway successfully appealed the city of Brookhaven’s decision to suspend its alcohol license after the city claimed the popular hookah lounge was an “entertainment venue” subject to a $100,000 alcohol license fee.
The Alcohol Board on June 26 overturned the city’s suspension of the venue’s alcohol license.
Arif Lounge was one of several Buford Highway businesses targeted by the fire marshal and police in April for life safety checks. During the check, city officials said a police officer’s body camera footage showed Arif Lounge had a disc jockey booth and dance floor. Under the city’s new alcohol ordinance, venues with such amenities are now considered entertainment venues and subject to a $100,000 alcohol license fee. Fees in the past have been approximately $5,000.
However, members of the Alcohol Board said in their ruling they did not see any evidence of a dance floor in the body cam footage and based their decision on the fire marshal’s testimony that he did not see a disc jockey or dance floor.
Several other nightlife venues are suing the city in federal court claiming the new alcohol ordinance is unfairly targeting black-owned businesses. The city denies it is discriminating.
This is the second time in the past several months the Alcohol Board has ruled against the city’s decision to revoke or suspend a business’ alcohol license. In November, the board overturned the city’s decision to revoke Medusa Restaurant & Lounge’s alcohol license after members said the city failed to prove gang and criminal activity were taking place at the club popular with professional athletes and hip hop artists.