In a rather unexpected turn of events, the New York State Court of Appeals has upheld the State Liquor Authority’s March 2008 decision to cancel the liquor license of Le Souk, the club that has long pitted B&T against Avenue B. Back in May, an appellate court had ruled that, contrary to the SLA’s belief, there wasn’t enough evidence to determine that Le Souk was overcrowded when inspectors observed a “shoulder-to-shoulder” crowd in the basement in January of 2007. But according to a release sent out today by the SLA, the Court of Appeals has reversed the appellate court’s decision on the basis that there was indeed substantial evidence that the owners had allowed the premises to become disorderly.
Moreover, the new ruling does much to reinforce the SLA’s power. In contrast to the lower court's ruling (which said the SLA didn’t have the authority to punish license holders for failing to comply with building codes, fire, safety, and governmental regulations), the new decision, in the words of the press release, “upholds the validity of the SLA rules, which provide the SLA with the regulatory power to ensure licensees comply with local health and safety rules.” We’re waiting to hear back from Le Souk’s owner to find out what this means for its future.