Studio 4’s first Saturday of the fall semester will host its usual dance night, but with one small catch: water will be the only drink on tap.
“We’re doing teen night on Saturday night, which the high school kids love because it gives them an outlet to come and let loose for three hours,” said Studio 4 manager Jeff Mangray. “The only thing we serve is water, and we provide music for dancing and the kids have a great time.”
Teen nights are one way the Fourth Street dance club is attempting to sustain revenue it expects to lose during the suspension of its liquor license from today to Sunday and on Thanksgiving weekend, from Nov. 27-29.
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission issued the suspension in July, along with $2,200 in fees, as a penalty for violations the club has accumulated over the past two years. Charges include illegal weapon possession, assault and battery, selling liquor to intoxicated people and minors and harassment of customers, according to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.
Mangray said he believes the penalties stem from a New Year’s Eve incident and that things have been blown out of proportion by the media and police since then.
At the club that night, employees called the police when a 17-year-old girl was found unconscious, intoxicated and surrounded by men in a booth. One of the men was standing in front of her with his pants pulled down.
“There are two sides to every story,” Mangray said. “They made it sounds like we were guilty of everything in the world. We are being penalized for doing the right thing.”
An Ace of Clubs official, who asked to remain anonymous in order to speak bluntly on the subject, said Ann Arbor Police “definitely” target the club. Ace of Clubs is a promotion company that has worked closely with Studio 4 since the summer.
“Just looking at our record, I feel like were being scrutinized a little more heavily than the other clubs,” he said. “I really don’t know the reason.”
AAPD Lieutenant Michael Logghe said the AAPD keeps a closer eye on Studio 4 than most other clubs in Ann Arbor.
“Obviously if there is a problem location, problem locations receive more enforcement and more directed patrols,” he said. “Just because of what comes out of there, fights and drunks, and things of that nature. They are being scrutinized because they create so many problems for us.”
The club has also incurred more than $7,100 in fines for failing to cooperate with the Ann Arbor Police Department, keeping inaccurate sales records, writing bad checks and breaking more than 12 other state laws since 2001.
Mangray said he was disappointed in the MLCC’s decision, but said his club would abide by the suspension.
and stands by the club’s policies.
“We follow the law to the ‘T’, you know? Every person has to have an ID, whether you are 18 years old or 95 years old, we check.”