Every once in a while a potential restaurant buyer will ask me about how any past ABC violations may affect the ABC licensing of a new establishment.  Here’s a fairly extreme case, but an important lesson to learn (from a RTD article last week, “Former Velvet strip club site can’t sell alcohol“):

Under state law, the ABC Board may refuse to allow a hearing on a license request if a license for that location has been refused or revoked within 12 months.


“It is enforcement’s position that without a significant period of time separating the Velvet reputation and clientele from that location, the reopening of a similar establishment will contribute to the reoccurrence of the same issues dealt with in the Velvet hearing,” said Francis J. Monahan, director of the law-enforcement bureau.

Oh…what’s the lesson you say?  Don’t mess with the Virginia ABC board! You may not agree with them and it may suck sometimes, but you have no choice but to play by their rules if you want to remain in business.

(I wrote about Sam Moore’s ongoing ABC issues a couple of years ago, too:  “Poor, poor, strip club owner…“)

3 Thoughts on “What if the last owner lost their ABC license?”

  • Yea, I have a lot of issues with VA’s ABC laws and what they do to the bar and restaurant industry, but you definately do not want to mess with them. In my opinion they are part of the reason for the prevelance of creepy characters among club owners, since in many cases only types willing to hide their real sales percentages can stay in business. Maybe ABC’s extra strictness is in reaction to this, despite the fact they are partly to blame. Typical government reaction.

  • By the way, yet another reason that the ABC can take someone’s license away is the business being cited for “health code violations”, which include violations of the new smoking ban. If you are cited for allowing someone to smoke, they can pull the license as it is a health code offense.

    I have written my representative about this. He has assured me that wasn’t the intent of the smoking law but it is still possible. I suspect that if you’re already on the wrong side of the ABC, you might want to watch it as they have this and other tools to pull your license.

  • The ABC board has enough regulations that are consistently being broken, even if accidentally, that they can really shut down anyone if they get on the bad side of the board. (i.e., serving someone that is already intoxicated – http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+4.1-304 )

    That’s interesting about the health violations possibly affecting your ABC license. I haven’t heard that, but I’m not contesting it. I can believe it, especially with as closely as the Commonwealth has tied food and alcohol sales together.

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