Raleigh restaurant barred from operating as nightclub

Staff WritersAugust 25, 2006 

— The Supper Clubb, a popular North Raleigh restaurant, has lost its permit to play amplified music two months after Raleigh tightened a city law governing businesses with loud entertainment.

The move effectively keeps the controversial establishment from operating as a nightclub.

On Aug. 9, Walt Fulcher, the city's zoning inspection supervisor, notified the club of a one-year suspension of its amplified entertainment permit.

Under Raleigh law, a business that can hold more than 99 people and provides entertainment louder than a television must have the permit to operate.

Raleigh can suspend the permit for a year for four or more violations related to noise, violations of the city's zoning requirements or arrests for violence, drugs or alcohol.

The notice of suspension alleged seven violations of city law including noise, lack of off-duty police officers, an open-alcoholic-container violation and a stabbing.

The club's lead attorney, William H. Potter Jr., said the city's case is weak and singles out his client unfairly. At a hearing, he criticized what he called "the city's effort to penalize this business with this statute."

Jessie Taliaferro, the City Council member who represents the area, has argued on behalf of upset neighbors who want the city to close the club.

The city's attorneys also defend the enforcement action against the club.

"This is not a control on a business that sells alcohol," said Dan McLawhorn, the associate city attorney handling the case. "This is a control on a business that makes too much noise."

Fulcher wrote in the suspension notice, "The Supper Clubb, Inc. has violated the Amplified Entertainment Ordinance four or more [than] four times during the twelve month period commencing on Oct. 7, 2005."

For now, The Supper Clubb is no longer operating as a nightclub. It serves Caribbean and soul food for lunch and dinner.

Attorneys for the restaurant have challenged the city's evidence and the way Raleigh officials have built their case against the club.

Their objections led to a two-week-long stay in the enforcement of the permit's suspension, McLawhorn said.

On Aug. 17, in response to the club's objections, the city held an evidentiary hearing with the club's attorneys, Potter and Alan Briones Jr.

On Tuesday after the hearing, Fulcher sent a letter to The Supper Clubb upholding the suspension of the permit.

As of Wednesday, Potter and Briones were searching for a Superior Court judge to issue a stay of the action in anticipation of a lawsuit against the city.

In addition, Potter said he plans to appeal the suspension to the City Council on Sept. 5.

Staff writer Sam LaGrone can be reached at 836-4951 or slagrone@newsobserver.com.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service