The owner of the Art Bar has surrendered its liquor license after months of tension between the club and neighbors and city officials.
Lexington city government spokeswoman Susan Straub said Friday that the owner, Simms Entertainment, turned over its liquor license Wednesday, two days before a judge extended a decision for parties to work toward a solution regarding the bar's future.
Art Bar, nestled between small bars and restaurants in the 800 block of Euclid Avenue, can no longer sell liquor, Straub said. When asked why the bar relinquished its liquor license, Straub declined to comment and said that's a question for the owner. Calls to representatives of Sims Entertainment were not returned.
According to the Kentucky Secretary of State's website, Sims Entertainment Group LLC has owned the nightclub since 2011 and has managed a series of businesses at the bar's location.
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However, Art Bar has been operated by Gerald Mack, who told the Herald-Leader in August that he was in the process of finalizing his ownership of the club and was waiting for the liquor license to be transferred into his name.
The club and city have been at odds because neighbors have complained about shootings, fights, loud noise and trash from parties at the bar. Last month, the Board of Adjustment revoked the Art Bar's conditional use permit, which allowed Mack to operate the business as a bar. After the Art Bar continued to operate, the city sought a restraining order.
On Friday, Fayette Circuit Judge Kim Bunnell ordered that the bar be closed while the city and Mack discussed ways to resolve their differences.