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Gallery Hop Purveyors Should Learn from Cleveland Gallery Raid

With gallery hop season in full swing, purveyors and patrons should be aware of the proper protocol when it comes to serving alcoholic beverages at special events.  Recently, a gallery in Cleveland faced some trouble after owner Loren Naji allegedly gave away free alcohol at his opening. The police raided the event after several noise and overcrowding complaints by neighbors, only to find over $700 worth of wine and beer being served. Unfortunately, Naji failed to apply for an F2, a temporary liquor permit for cultural events. While serving free wine or beer to patrons of a gallery is not new, Naji attracted far too much attention to remain undetected.

Naji claims to not have known a permit was required, along with many other local gallery owners who were contacted. Other gallery owners insist Naji was being excessive with the amount of alcohol, suggesting it would bring in “the wrong kind of crowd” and not enough profit. Typically owners carry no more than a case of wine at events, and are conservative about giving it out. Additionally, police found a tip jar that they believe Naji used to collect money for alcohol, but he claims was strictly for the band playing. Naji has since stated he will obtain the required F2 and post it in the front window to avoid further issues.

It is important to note that the “tip jar” is likely what got Naji in trouble.  The Ohio Division of Liquor Control provides guidance on when a Temporary Liquor Permit is needed.  A permit is required if an organization intends to provide alcohol either for sale by the drink or through the use of an entrance fee or cover charge.  No permit is required if an individual or organization intends to provide alcohol at a private function where access is restricted to invited guests only, for which no admission fee is charged or any alcoholic beverages sold.

In other words, if you plan to serve alcohol to guests at a special event, it is best to not have money involved, even if you claim it is just a tip jar for the band.  Alternatively, you can contact Hastie Law Offices and we can assist in obtaining a temporary liquor permit for your event.

For more information see:

http://www.cleveland.com/arts/index.ssf/2014/05/police_raid_friday_night_openi.html

http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/05/state_agents_raid_west_side_ar.html

http://www.coolcleveland.com/blog/2014/05/undercover-police-raid-local-art-gallery-during-opening-reception-of-3-local-graffiti-artists/

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