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Apehangers Bar and Grill in Bel Alton was fined $1,000 Thursday and ordered closed for two days after a bartender served a beer to an underage person working with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

The penalty was unusually harsh because the bar’s decision to accept vertical drivers licenses, issued to people younger than 21, “set [the server] up for failure, unfortunately,” Charles County liquor board Chairwoman Pamela Smith said.

A third day of closure was held in abeyance for three years, meaning that the penalty will be imposed if there is another lapse during that time. The server, who was fired, was fined $25 for serving a 12-ounce Budweiser beer to a 19-year-old on Dec. 15. She said she miscalculated the informant’s age and thought he was 21.

Beverly A. Howe, the licensee for Apehangers, said she has since changed the policy to reject all vertical licenses, even for patrons who are of age.

The Board of License Commissioners fined Mattawoman Restaurant in Indian Head $250 and held three days of closure in abeyance for three years after a new employee also served an underage sheriff’s office informant. The server, who kept her job, was fined $100.

Board member Wayne Magoon urged proprietor Angela Delores Gray to enroll her workers in formal alcohol awareness training.

“I think you need to send her to some sort of [alcohol] course, get that accomplished, so she’s got some more training under her belt,” he said.

Magoon also warned that punishments would be “much steeper for a second offense. You need to be aware of that.”

Licenses transferred

The on- and off-site sale liquor license of Bunker Hill Inn in Waldorf was transferred from Daniel R. Dixon and Bunker Hill Properties to Chong Yi Chen, Dongxing Chen and 228 Liquors LLC.

The on-site beer and wine sale license of Ledo Pizza and Subs in Waldorf was transferred from Andrew C. Eyre to Veronica Gutierrez. Jeffrey S. Bagarus and Double Trouble Inc. remained on the license.

Temporary licenses issued

Relay for Life of Charles County received a one-day license to sell beer, wine and liquor from 8 a.m. to midnight March 8 for an American Cancer Society fundraiser in the banquet room of Holiday Inn Express in La Plata.

Grace Lutheran Church and School in La Plata received a one-day license to sell beer, wine and liquor from 7 to 11 p.m. March 9 for a wine and cheese social at its Family Life Center.

emitrano@somdnews.com