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The Charles County liquor board chairwoman grilled the businessmen seeking to open a bar featuring scantily clad dancers, prompting the men’s attorney to object that board members must make decisions based on law, not their own opinions.

Ultimately, the Board of License Commissioners of Charles County opted at its June 14 meeting to defer its decision until next month so it could review a new Maryland law governing nudity in establishments serving alcohol.

Chairwoman Pamela Smith interrupted Kenneth Paik, future general manager of Spice Lounge Bar & Grill, as he answered questions about the enterprise. Performers in “bikini-type wear” will dance on poles inside a cage in a dining area but will not strip, Paik said. Servers also will wear little, but their clothes will be “Western-style, traditional, very elegant-looking” despite not covering much, Paik said.

Myong Ho Paik and Robert A. Boarman were applying for a transfer of a beer, wine and liquor on-site sale license for the Waldorf business. Kenneth Paik variously translated for and answered on behalf of his father, who spoke broken English.

Smith objected to the bar opening in a shopping center also housing Hot Licks Guitar Shop because children could be nearby.

“Do you realize who your neighbors are in the building?” Smith asked the applicants. “There are going to be children in and out of that business next to yours all day long, all evening, getting lessons for instruments and what have you. Do you really think that’s a place that should be near children? I have to stop and look at the welfare of the community. I’m going to tell you right now I’m a mother and I wouldn’t want it next to me.”

“Ms. Smith, I do not think the patrons who are going next door will probably be trying to come into the establishment,” answered David Martinez, the applicants’ lawyer.

“They’ll be in the same parking lot,” Smith replied.

“They certainly will,” Martinez acknowledged.

“They share a parking lot,” Smith continued.

“They certainly will. It’s not a strip club, though, Madame Chair,” Martinez said.

Martinez, of Jenkins Law Firm in La Plata, said that liquor board members’ perceptions of the club’s propriety don’t affect the law. While patronage of Spice Lounge will be restricted to those 21 or older, people are legally free to bring children to places featuring young women in revealing dress, he said.

“I don’t take my sons to Hooters, but it’s a family establishment,” Martinez said.

“I don’t take my children to Hooters,” Smith replied.

“I wasn’t making any inference that you take your children to Hooters,” Martinez answered.

The board deferred its decision until its next meeting to examine House Bill 1050, which went into effect June 1. The bill, which amended state liquor law, exempts performances with “serious literary, artistic, scientific, or political value” held at theaters or similar venues from existing rules prohibiting nudity at places where alcohol is being served.

Penalties levied for serving underage patrons

The Liquor Store in Waldorf got off without a closure or fine after a clerk sold a six-pack of beer to a 20-year-old working with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office on March 2. The board issued a three-day closure, but with all three days suspended for three years. The clerk, S. Douglas, who was fired, was fined $100.

Angelo’s Liquors was fined $500 and issued a three-day suspended closure for its first-ever violation, after licensee Edward J. Kim sold a beer to an underage person working with the sheriff’s office March 2.

My Wayside Store in Newburg was fined $1,000 and ordered closed for four days after clerk Ariceli Arenas Lopez served a beer to an underage person working with the sheriff’s office April 25. An additional day of closure was held in suspension for three years, and Arenas Lopez was fined $100.

The store was closed for months because of flooding after last year’s torrential rains, but board member Wayne Magoon said that was no excuse for leaving Arenas Lopez, who formally had not been trained in alcohol service, unsupervised.

“You left a salesperson with one month’s experience alone in your store,” Magoon said.

New licenses and transfers

Goldsmith Country Store in Newburg, whose license is held by Judith T. Goldsmith, Mary C. Dorough and James E. Goldsmith Jr., was granted an expansion of its license to permit liquor to be served to patrons on-site.

Big Mouth Beer, Wine and Spirits in Waldorf received permission to expand its premises to an outside deck area, pending approvals from the Charles County Health Department and other county agencies. The Prime Street Grille in White Plains, with licensees Tony Lee Graham, Terrance Andrew White and Michele Maureen Alley, also received permission to expand to an outside deck area.

Temporary licenses issued

Spring Dell Center received a one-day temporary license to sell beer outside from 1 to 9 pm. Sept. 9 at Serenity Farm in Benedict for a fundraiser for Cancer Care.

Charles County Chamber of Commerce received temporary beer, wine and liquor licenses for three mixer events, to be held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. July 12 at Raley’s Home Furnishings in Waldorf, Aug. 12 at Blackstone Management in La Plata and Sept. 6 at Residence Inn by Marriott in Waldorf.

Accokeek-Bryans Road Lions Club received a one-day beer, wine and liquor license from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 30 with a rain date of Aug. 6. Its memorial golf tournament will be held at White Plains Golf Course.

Elks Center Pride of Southern Maryland 968 and Temple 651 received a one-day license to sell beer, wine and liquor from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 14 inside the Elks Center in Indian Head.

Sigma Alpha Lambda Foundation received a one-day license to sell beer, wine and liquor from 4 p.m. to midnight Sept. 22 inside the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department at a benefit for a scholarship program.

Southern Maryland Concert Band received a one-day license to sell beer from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 15 on the Indian Head Village Green.