Thirsty Turtle loses its liquor license in College Park
You likely have less than three weeks left to get your drink and dance on at the Thirsty Turtle bar near the University of Maryland in College Park.
On Wednesday night, the Prince George's County Board of License Commissioners voted unanimously to revoke the bar's liquor license. The bar could stop selling alcohol as soon as Nov. 23, unless the decision is appealed, the Diamondback student newspaper reported.
The Thirsty Turtle -- students call it "Turtle" -- has quite the rep on campus. It's known as that bar on Route 1 with sticky floors, loud dance music, cheap drinks and, as was charged at last night's hearing, lax carding at the door.
Turtle has gotten into trouble several times since it opened three years ago: In 2008, it was cited and fined for filling top-shelf bottles with cheaper alcohol. In 2009, it was cited and fined for selling to a minor. In September, the campus police chief set up an "integrity test," and the bar admitted two underage students who showed their under-21 IDs at the door. And in October, police tied the bar to a stabbing on Route 1 that involved three underage students who had been at Turtle that night.
Turtle owner Alan Wanuck and his attorney, Linda Carter, called the integrity test a "sting operation" that entrapped the bar, according to the Diamondback. During the hearing, Wanuck showed more than 200 fake IDs the bar had confiscated. Wanuck also said he purchased an ID scanner and changed bar policies, prosecuting students who use fakes and having bartenders re-card students who look suspiciously young, the Diamondback reported.
Commissioner David Daesok Son said the plan sounds like it should work. "But apparently it does not," he said, according to the Diamondback. "Whatever you're doing right now, it's not working."
The liquor board also received letters from U-Md., its Student Government Association and Catholic University that detailed incidents where underage drinkers from their schools had been hospitalized or involved in drunken altercations, according to the Gazette.
A second hearing for the Thirsty Turtle is scheduled for Nov. 10 to review a bar fight that turned into a stabbing down the street. There will also be a meeting Nov. 23 to review the license revocation.
Photo by Juana Arias for the Washington Post.
| November 4, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Categories: Night Life | Tags: University of Maryland
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