Downtown nightclub's liquor license in jeopardy

The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) decided Oct. 29 to pursue non-renewal of downtown Tacoma’s McCabes American Music Cafe’s liquor license. The decision comes after reviewing information submitted by the City of Tacoma as part of its objection to the renewal.

Liquor licenses are renewed yearly, and state law gives local authorities, such as a city or county, the opportunity to submit an objection to a renewal. The City of Tacoma’s objection was given substantial weight under RCW 66.24.010(12), which that states that the WSLCB shall give such weight to objections based upon chronic illegal activity and documented in the objection.

McCabes’ liquor license expires Nov. 30. The establishment, which is located at 2611 Pacific Ave., may request a hearing before an administrative law judge to appeal the Board’s decision. If McCabes requests a hearing, it may continue to serve alcohol until the Board’s final order is handed down. If McCabes does not appeal, it may no longer serve alcohol after Nov. 30.

Under RCW 66.24.010 (12), the local authority must provide convincing evidence of a pervasive pattern of chronic illegal activity in order for an objection to receive substantial weight. The WSLCB must be convinced there is a connection between any documented chronic illegal activity and the licensee or business.

According to the law, chronic illegal activity is a pervasive pattern of activity that threatens the public safety of the local authority’s jurisdiction. Examples include, but are not limited to, open container violations, assaults, disturbances, disorderly conduct, or other criminal law violations, or activity documented in crime statistics, police reports, emergency medical response data, calls for service, field data, or similar records of a law enforcement agency. The City of Tacoma provided the WSLCB with a large number of police reports that demonstrate crowd control problems, fights and assaults, and other violent crimes.