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UPDATED: iLounge Cited for Illegally Serving Alcohol, Manager Charged

Atlanta police shuttered an alleged illegal party July 28 and cited the manager for selling alcohol after the 2:30 p.m. cutoff time.
Atlanta police shuttered an alleged illegal party July 28 and cited the manager for selling alcohol after the 2:30 p.m. cutoff time.
EAST ATLANTA — The manager of the iLounge hookah bar was charged early Sunday with serving alcohol after the 2:30 a.m. cutoff prescribed by the city ordinance.

Christopher Lott, 34, was cited for the violation.

An Atlana police officer spotted the alleged illegal activity at 5:30 a.m. on July 28 after hearing loud music coming from the establishment at 1287 Glenwood Ave.

Police went in and saw at least 75 people in the bar.

"I observed several patrons walking around with alcoholic beverages," the officer wrote in his report.

"The beverages appeared to still be fresh (mixed drinks still had solid ice in them and many beers were still 3/4 full with a foamy head)."

Lott, according to the officer, apologized and said the bar simply was "running a little over," even though it was three hours past the legal cutoff time.

Lott disputes the report, telling East Atlanta Patch there was no "illegal after-hours pouring. We had a celebrity DJ in town and stayed open until five a.m."

The action follows a similar charge against the manager of the now-defunct Asylum bar, who allegedly — and unknowingly — approached an Atlanta police officer and a City Hall employee at the Midway Pub across the street and invited them to an illegal, $10, all-you-can-drink party in June.

That establishment subsequently closed after its owners failed to pay their rent.

"The Atlanta community has always been very supportive of all the establishments operating in the Village," Ed Gilgor, chairman of Neighborhood Planning Unit -W, told East Atlanta Patch.

"However, we cannot countenance businesses which operate outside of the law.

"Such illegal operations are not only an affront to those business who operate within the bounds the law, are also an insult to the community in which they're located."

The crackdown on establishments for alleged violations follows a number of high-profile crimes — including three murders and a fourth shooting death — to hit East Atlanta since May.

Some residents argue allowing minor violations to go unchecked creates an atmosphere for more serious infractions to occur.

Still, the so-called "broken window" theory is highly disputed by social scientists and criminal justice experts who have studied decades of crime trends nationwide for causal links.

"While I cannot direct link increase in crime In East Atlanta to such illegal operations, one cannot help wonder if by creating a culture of lawlessness, such businesses are not drawing criminals to the community, " Gilgor said.

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