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Label nightclub gets its liquor license back

By Adriana Burkins
Qcitymetro

After a six-day-suspension of its liquor license, one of Charlotte’s most popular nightclubs has been given permission to serve mixed drinks again.

In a letter dated May 8, Label Charlotte was notified by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission that its temporary liquor license had been suspended for seven days because of a string of infractions. But after owners of the nightclub met with ABC officials in Raleigh this week, the suspension was lifted a day early.

Agnes Stevens, a spokeswoman for the commission, told Qcitymetro that bartenders at Label would be allowed to pour liquor again starting Wednesday, May 15.

According to ABC documents, the suspension stemmed from a string of alleged violations, some dating back to early March, when the CIAA basketball tournament was in town.

An ABC agent visiting the club alleged that Label on several occasions served liquor to patrons who were already intoxicated. He also reported finding traces of marijuana inside the club.

A person who answered the phone at Label Tuesday told Qcitymetro that no one would be available to answer questions.

The suspension of Label’s liquor license comes at a time when the club has received a string of negative publicity. In December 2012, six people, including the wife of a Charlotte Bobcats player, were arrested following a fight outside the club. And on March 4, an argument outside the club led to a non-fatal shooting. Both incidents were mentioned in the ABC report.

According to that report, which was filed by agent Omar Qureshi:

• On March 1, an ABC agent observed an intoxicated male patron vomiting near the entrance of Label. The man was semi-conscious and lying on his side, according to the report. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

• Also on March 1, the agent reported that he detected the smell of marijuana coming from a “green room” behind a VIP area. Inside an adjacent restroom, the agent said he found traces of marijuana in a sink.

• On March 16, the agent reported finding a female patron “crying and staggering at the entrance of the club.” The agent said the woman was “impaired” and could not stand up without holding on to the agent.

• Also on March 16, the agent said he found a receipt on the floor for four bottles of Finlandia vodka at a cost of $600. The receipt indicated that 12 people were seated at the VIP table where the vodka was purchased.

“I have observed behavior at hundreds of ABC licensed outlets for 20 years during my law enforcement career,” Qureshi wrote in his report. “The amount of people stumbling and staggering out of Label Charlotte seemed unusually high.”

To address the alleged problem of overdrinking, the agent said he warned Label’s owners on multiple occasions about the sale of liquor to intoxicated patrons. He also ordered Label to halt bottle service. Qureshi said in his report that patrons who buy bottles of liquor often feel compelled to drink them before leaving the club.

Label opened at the NC Music Factory in October 2012 and quickly became one of the city’s premier nightspots. At 16,000 square feet, it is also one of the largest.

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