Absence of Permit Restricts Liqour





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Bear's Lair regulars had to drown their sorrows indoors Friday as alcohol can no longer be consumed on the complex's West Patio.

After underage drinkers on the patio received numerous citations, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control asked to see an alcohol license for the area. Bear's Lair management subsequently discovered it never possessed the permit.

"We have a license, but when we looked at the diagram on the license, we found we have no permit to serve alcohol on the West Patio," said Michael Alaraj, manager of the Bear's Lair.

Alaraj said UC police had cited several people for underage drinking on the patio, but when department representatives cited minors as well, the situation became more serious.

He added, however, that the citations received were not due to irresponsibility on the part of Bear's Lair management.

"We always check for I.D.," he said. "But (people over 21) buy it and pass it to younger people. We never sold to any minors."

The facility was not fined, Alaraj said, because of its good history with law enforcement.

"Since we've been doing this for a long time, they don't fine us," he said.

The lair's alcohol permit will soon be up for renewal, at which time the bar could attain a license for the patio or lose its permit entirely.

In addition, the entire complex is set to close indefinitely May 23 for asbestos removal.

Friday's drinkers, confined to the South Patio and the indoor portion of the facility, said they were disappointed.

"It's bogus," said Ritchie Tuazon, a senior rhetoric major. "That makes this place a lot less attractive."

Tuazon said he would look elsewhere for a Friday afternoon hangout spot. But another student - a member of the Greek community, one of the facility's largest contingents - pointed out that The Bear's Lair is a unique location for students looking to socialize.

"I think it's terrible because students don't have the ability to hang out in large groups on the south patio," said Jason O'Brien, a sophomore business major and a member of the Chi Phi fraternity. "It is way too small for any students to sit down in the sun in big groups."

O'Brien said even for students who do not drink, the West Patio is not an option because they are most likely with friends who do.

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