Raleigh bars receive ABC Commission warning threatening license for opening in spite of COVID-19 rules

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Seven bars in Raleigh's Glenwood South district have received warning letters from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission for operating in possible violation of Governor Roy Cooper's Executive Order 141.

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According to the ABC Commission, local law enforcement in Raleigh notified the agency of several bars open and serving customers Saturday evening. ABC staff drafted letters and sent Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) agents to deliver them to the following businesses:

  • Dram & Draught
  • Halcyon
  • Cornerstone Tavern
  • Dueling Piano Bar
  • Alchemy
  • Dogwood
  • Clockwork


The bars were reportedly open and serving customers over the weekend, despite the Executive Order against bars being open.

On Saturday night, Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin told ABC11 Reporter Jonah Kaplan that the bars were open illegally.

"The bars are in violation of the Governor's Executive Order. I urge their compliance before more severe enforcement action is required," Baldwin said in a text message.

The more severe enforcement action appeared to arrive in the following days in the form of this warning from the ABC Commission: "Based on information provided by local law enforcement and ALE, I am concerned to hear that your business is open in violation of Governor Cooper's Executive Order 141 as amended by Executive Order 147, and fails to comply with the COVID-19 protection guidelines of the NC Department of Health and Human Services. It is my understanding that law enforcement officers have discussed these problems with you and your employees. The purpose of this letter is to give fair warning. Unless you take immediate steps to comply with the law and protect the public's health, the ABC Commission may seek serious and substantial sanctions against your alcohol permits."

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The letter was signed by the Commission's General Counsel and encourages the aforementioned businesses to have their legal representatives contact them with any questions.

According to the executive order, establishments that obtain less than 30% of their revenue from food sales are considered bars not restaurants. Restaurants are allowed to open with other restrictions, but bars are not.

The order did have exemptions for breweries, wineries, distilleries, bottle shops and wine shops. Guidance was also issued for private clubs and members-only clubs that allow them to operate while Cooper's executive order remains in place.

Editor's note: The video in this article is from a live report that aired Saturday, June 28 about the Glenwood South bars.
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