The Washington State Liquor Control Board has rejected the city's request to summarily suspend the liquor license of Belltown's Tabella...

Share story

The Washington State Liquor Control Board has rejected the city’s request to summarily suspend the liquor license of Belltown’s Tabella Restaurant & Lounge.

In a statement, the liquor board said, “Investigators concluded that there were no grounds for an emergency suspension,” under the requirements of state law.

The decision came a week after Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels made his request, citing “the history of violence and irresponsibility surrounding the club.”

Tabella opened in November 2005 and quickly became known as a popular dance club for hip-hop and rap music outside of Pioneer Square.

This week, save 90% on digital access.

City officials say the club has more than 35 police incident reports since January 2006, the most serious yet being a July 2 shooting down the street from the club in which an ejected patron fired shots that wounded an 18-year-old woman and nearly hit a Belltown resident sitting at a computer inside her apartment.

Club officials said they’ve generated many of those reports by calling 911 themselves.

Emergency suspensions effectively are a death sentence for clubs because, under state law, the license holder cannot sell alcohol even during an appeal of the board’s decision.

The last time Nickels asked the board for emergency suspensions, he got it. The board issued 180-day emergency suspensions of the liquor licenses of Larry’s Nightclub in Pioneer Square in 2005 and Mr. Lucky Lounge and Grill last year. Both of those clubs played mainly hip-hop music and had a history of violence on their premises.

David Osgood, who represents Tabella and also defended Larry’s, said in an interview earlier this week that the mayor’s letter to the liquor board contained false statements about incidents outside the club.

This year, the board has issued two emergency suspensions of Seattle establishments: in February, Dome Stadium Tavern, and in January, the restaurant Lu Quan on Martin Luther King Way.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.