Violation brings 3-day booze ban for Poppies |

Violation brings 3-day booze ban for Poppies

Janet Urquhart

Poppies Bistro Cafe will serve a three-day liquor license suspension the week before Christmas, the Aspen Liquor Licensing Authority decided Tuesday.

The West End bistro will not be able to serve any alcohol on Dec. 15-17 as punishment for serving liquor after its license had expired on June 16. Four other days of suspension were suspended; the establishment will not have to serve those days if it has no other violations for the next year, the liquor board agreed.

Poppies co-owner Michael Hull agreed to the terms at a hearing before the board. Though he paid the state fee to renew the restaurant’s license, Hull said he “spaced” payment to renew the license with the city. “I screwed it up. I overlooked it,” he said.

According to the city clerk’s office, attempts were made to call Hull and two letters were sent regarding the expired license before he was cited by police.

Hull was cited Oct. 5 for serving alcohol without a license and pleaded guilty in city court on Oct. 11. He paid a $50 fine. He renewed the license on Oct. 6, according to the clerk’s office.

Liquor board members indicated yesterday they did not want to impose too harsh a penalty for the violation, but at the same time they wanted to send a message to the community that liquor license violations are taken seriously.

The board debated a full week of suspension before member Gary Esary suggested making the restaurant serve just two days of a week-long suspension – on dates of Hull’s choosing between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“Two days – to me that’s not much of a fine or a sentence or whatever,” said board chairman Terry Allen. “It could be the two slowest days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s not a wake-up call to me.”

Member Terry Adriance proposed the dates the penalty will be served. The weekend will likely be a busy one as Aspen moves into its holiday rush.

The board briefly discussed a threat Hull allegedly made regarding the police officer who cited him for the violation. Hull disputed the essence of his remark, as recorded in police records, but agreed a threat was inappropriate.

The district attorney’s office declined to prosecute him for the alleged threat, and the liquor board did not consider it in its deliberations on what penalty to impose.

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