Other venues received similar letters from the city and are waiting for the Brookhaven Alcohol Board to consider their appeals. Wiggins' filed lawsuits in state and federal court on behalf of his clients after the Alcohol Board denied theirs appeal.
Brookhaven filed its own motion to dismiss the case brought by the nightclubs. Thrash also said he will take that into consideration as he decides how to proceed.
The city’s attorney argued that the three clubs don’t qualify as restaurants for other reasons beyond the music issue, including their proximity to residential areas and not having a high enough percentage of their sales coming from food.
Attorney Scott Bergthold, who is representing the City of Brookhaven, said the new liquor law has been applied evenly and was not meant to single out certain nightclubs. He said the city established the higher liquor license fees to force nightclubs responsible for most of the emergency calls for service to reimburse the city for law enforcement costs.
But the judge pointed out that the Pink Pony strip club was being allowed, through a separate agreement with Brookhaven, to operate until 4 a.m. despite the number of calls police receive to respond there.
“If the city is trying to cut down on crime, it can cut Pink Pony’s hours,” Thrash said.
Liquor laws also are being challenged in Chamblee, Brookhaven's neighbor to the east. Last week, Thrash, who is also the judge in that case, decided not to issue an emergency order barring the city from enforcing new rules saying nightclubs must stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. instead of 3 a.m.
Brookhaven also rolled back bar hours in its new law.