Barley House appeals losing its liquor license for COVID-19 violations

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team found one of the hottest clubs in Cleveland’s Warehouse District started taking steps to try to stay open after losing its liquor license for violating COVID-19 health orders. The owners filed an appeal in court.

We recently revealed the Ohio Liquor Control Commission decided to revoke the liquor permit for the Barley House in late March.

The club has been cited three times for violating COVID-19 health orders.

Agents with the Ohio Investigative Unit recorded video inside the Barley House capturing evidence of crowds breaking COVID-19 rules day and night.

At one hearing, an agent testified, “There was no social distancing at all.” Another testified, “Bumping into people, we were shoulder to shoulder.”

The Barley House could stay open while appealing. But, the owners will need a judge to allow that. As for addressing the complaints, the attorney handling the appeal said he couldn’t comment.

But, a lawyer representing Barley House at earlier hearings recently gave us a hint of how the club could fight back. Kurt Gearhiser indicated any appeal would likely revolve around attacking how the state health orders and laws are written and carried out.

“The real question is whether the health violations can be enforced by the Liquor Control Commission,” he told the I-Team.

The notice of appeal was just filed days ago, so the state is just now getting time to respond to it. The matter could take months to move through court.

While the Barley House has attracted crowds as a popular nightspot, on Tuesday, we even found the lunch crowd glad to see the fight to stay open.

“When I’m here at lunchtime, I’ve never seen violations of the social distancing or mask rules,” Anne Hawkins said.

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