Clerical Errors Derail OC Liquor License Requests

SNOW HILL — A couple of seemingly innocuous liquor license applications that appeared to be cruising toward approval by the Board of License Commissioners (BLC) were derailed at the last moment when seemingly innocent clerical errors on the formal documents revealed the applicants were not entirely forthcoming about their prior underage sales violations on their watch.

The BLC approved several liquor license applications for new and existing businesses on Wednesday, but two requests were sent back to the drawing board for clerical errors on the official documents. For example, de Lazy Lizard sought and was approved for a liquor license for a new brew pub of the same name at the site of the old Melvin’s Steakhouse on the corner of 1st Street and Philadelphia Ave. not far from the original location.

However, when a second application for yet a third de Lazy Lizard on the Boardwalk was presented, it was revealed the owners and management had mistakenly said they did not have any prior underage drinking violations on the record. The original de Lazy Lizard has had two underage sales violations dating back about two years and has since implemented stringent ID checking procedures resulting in no new violations, but on the application for the new Boardwalk location, the owners had mistakenly checked the “no” box on the underage sale violation question.

As a result, the application process was halted and the restaurant owners will have to file an amended application for a later hearing. Unfortunately, the BLC hearings are held just once a month and the deadline for getting on the June agenda has already passed.

“Basically, we have a false statement,” said BLC attorney Tom Coates. “I think the board should close this application process and they can reapply in the future. I believe in this case it was a clerical error, but in the past, the Board has closed the application hearing.”

A short time later, a similar situation unfolded with the application for a liquor license transfer for the Pit-and-Pub on 28th Street. The managing partners were hoping to transfer the pub’s liquor license into their names when a similar error in the application was uncovered.

When one of the prospective license holders, Steve Hoffman, was telling the board about his vast restaurant management experience in the resort area, he mentioned that he had been listed as the resident agent of, ironically, the original de Lazy Lizard, when the establishment had incurred the underage sales violations. Unfortunately, the Pit and Pub partners had checked the “no” box on the application about prior violations. Again, the Pit and Pub partners will have to return with an amended application.

“We know you guys and we’re sure you’ll do a great job, but what you need to understand is that the most important instrument we get is this application,” said BLC Chairman William Esham, Jr. “We have to depend on the truth and honest answers because two-thirds of the people that come before us, we don’t know.”

In other BLC news from Wednesday, the board approved a liquor license transfer for the Shrimp Boat on Route 611 in West Ocean City and also approved a liquor license for the new Sandy Bottoms on the south end of the Boardwalk at a location most recently known as Davey Jones’ Locker. The site for years housed a Burger King on the Boardwalk.

The BLC also approved a new liquor license for the Duck Dive, a new establishment near the Boardwalk at 4th Street, and a transfer of an existing liquor license for Rita’s World of Wine, Beer and Spirits, which is moving to a new location in the same Pennington Commons shopping center near Ocean Pines where it currently exists. In addition, the BLC approved a new liquor license for the Longboard Café, a new establishment on 67th Street.

The BLC also reviewed a handful of underage sales violations dating back to March 16, or St. Patrick’s Day weekend and the same date as the Ocean City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In one instance, Shenanigans Irish Pub on the Boardwalk was issued a citation when an undercover female OCPD officer, who was underage, was allowed in the establishment on its busiest weekend of the year. Owner Greg Shockley pointed out the restaurant is not yet officially opened for the season on St. Patrick’s Day weekend and relies on temporary help and family and friends to supplement its staff needs.

Shockley explained the restaurant’s policy on the holiday weekend is to have doormen card individuals at every entrance and issue Shenanigan’s specific wristbands, but the system broke down in an least one instance and the undercover officer was allowed in.

The same undercover OCPD officer managed to get into the new Ky West bar near 56th Street on March 16. In that case, the manager had a doorman carding individuals and issuing wristbands during the day when the parade was going on, but had dismissed the doorman later in the day when the undercover officer entered the establishment. Yet another establishment, Peaky’s rooftop bar on 139th Street was also nabbed by the same undercover OCPD officer on the hectic St. Patrick’s Day weekend. In each case, the violations resulted in a letter of reprimand in the establishment’s files, but no fines or other sanctions.