Koko’s Bartini in Kennewick opened Wednesday night, despite a warning from the Washington state Liquor and Cannabis Board that the choice would result in a suspension of its liquor license.
On Tuesday, the board voted to suspend the liquor license for 180 days if the bar and restaurant continued to offer indoor service Wednesday night.
Koko’s posted on Facebook that it would open as usual Wednesday.
Enforcement officers stopped by Tuesday night and have “not yet proven that Koko’s Bartini is causing harm,” Koko’s posted on social media Wednesday afternoon.
It called the opening a “peaceful protest” and posted a link for donations to help it pay legal costs.
It also noted that Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday extended a ban on indoor dining for another week — until at least Jan. 11 — to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“It’s never going to stop folks! Had enough yet?” Koko’s Bartini posted in all capital letters.
Liquor and Cannabis Board enforcement officers will verify whether the business provided indoor service Wednesday night and then consider its options if it is not complying with the state mandate, said board spokeswoman Julie Graham.
Among options are notifying distributors that Koko’s Bartini cannot legally sell the alcohol it is supplied, she said.
In many cases, the board proceeds with steps needed to permanently revoke a liquor license after a temporary license suspension takes effect.
The board also voted on Tuesday to suspend the liquor license of Kimo’s Sportsbar and Brew Pub in Richland unless it also stopped indoor service.
Kimo’s said on social media that it would close starting Wednesday, Dec. 30, until further notice.
“Your support has meant so much to us,” it posted. “Thank you and we hope to serve you again very soon.”