Stowaway Lounge loses liquor license

State liquor-control officials cite smoking-ban violations in their decision

A Dayton bar racked up more than $5,000 in civil fines over a six-year period for violations of Ohio’s smoking ban, and state liquor-control officials cited those violations in its decision not to renew the bar’s liquor license.

The Stowaway Lounge, 2820 Wayne Ave. near Belmont High School in Dayton, has been shut down since at least February, and its phone is now disconnected. Attempts to reach the bar’s owners have been unsuccessful.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor control’s non-renewal of Stowaway Lounge’s liquor license became effective on Dec. 16, according to Matt Mullins, a spokesman for the state agency.

In their initial denial letter dated Sept. 25, 2015, liquor-control officials said the Stowaway Lounge’s owners had operated the business with “disregard for the laws, regulations and local ordinances of this state,” according to state records obtained by this news outlet.

“On various dates beginning on Dec. 3, 2007, and continuing as recently as March 26, 2014, the (Stowaway Lounge) permitted smoking in its liquor establishment in violation of the Smoke-Free Workplace Act,” the rejection letter said. As a result, the lounge accumulated $5,155.64 in civil fines by the Ohio Department of Health.

The bar also added an officer who had not submitted to a background check or provided a personal history background, both of which are requirements for holding an officer’s position with a business that holds a liquor license.

The bar’s owners also are facing a sales tax assessment of $3,738.56, according to an order mailed last week to the lounge from the Ohio Liquor Control Commission, a separate state agency.

The Stowaway Lounge has been at its current location for decades. It made headlines in 1989, when a patient of the nearby Dayton Mental Health Center killed two bar patrons while he was on a weekend pass. The victims were George P. Hensley, 51, of Dayton, and Keith Hudson, 28, of Mad River Twp.

The patient, Eric Moorer, was found not guilty by reason of insanity of two counts of murder.

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