Contentious license hearing canceled for Joe’s Liquors after RiNo businesses come to an agreement

Joe’s Liquors license will be renewed with a few conditions agreed upon in mediation.

Joe's Liquors on Larimer Street, June 20, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Joe's Liquors on Larimer Street, June 20, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) five points; rino; larimer street; joe's liquors; gentrification; complaints; kevinjbeaty; denverite; colorado; denver;
Joe’s Liquors on Larimer Street, June 20, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Joe’s Liquors no longer faces a liquor license renewal hearing after the city and RiNo Art District were able to mediate the dispute between the 33-year-old store’s owners and the owners of surrounding businesses who filed complaints.

Dan Rowland, director of public affairs for the Department of Excise and Licenses, said Joe’s Liquors license will be renewed with a few conditions agreed upon in the mediation.

It’s not standard practice to hold a hearing for the renewal of a liquor license, and the mediation is part of a new approach the city is taking to this kind of neighborhood dispute.

Jamie Licko, president of of RiNo Art District, said she and the board felt it’s not necessarily their job to call into question the way someone runs their businesses, but that it is their job to help everyone in the neighborhood work together.

“When situations arise, we generally try to take the role of being the mediator and trying to find some common ground,” she said.

She had some meetings with a representative of Joe’s Liquors and separate meetings with the concerned business owners. A sit-down meeting for all involved was planned for next week, but they were able to come to an agreement without it.

These are the new conditions for Joe’s Liquors’ license:
  • Licensee will require all employees selling alcoholic beverages to complete TIPs (Training for Intervention Procedures) training.
  • Licensee will not sell alcoholic beverages to persons under 21 years of age, and will accept only those forms of identification set forth in Regulation 47-912 of 1 CCR 203-2.
  • Licensee will not sell alcoholic beverages to persons who are visibly intoxicated.
  • Licensee will not sell alcoholic beverages to habitual drunkards.
  • During all hours of operation, including while Licensee’s employees are on the licensed premises working, Licensee will explicitly keep the area in front of the licensed premises free from litter,
  • During all hours of operation, including while Licensee’s employees are on the licensed premises working, Licensee will prohibit loitering in and around the exterior entrances of the licensed premises.
  • Licensee will designate a Manager as a contact person for RADNA (River North Art District Neighborhood Association) to contact to address any concerns raised by RADNA. Licensee will provide RADNA with the designated person’s name and contact information, who will make himself or herself available upon reasonable notice and request to meet with RADNA representatives.

Public intoxication and loitering from customers were chief among the complaints filed by the owners at least eight other businesses in the area.

The letters — almost all of which came from businesses owned by developer Kenneth Wolf or businesses in buildings owned by Wolf — caused an outcry in the community and accusations that Wolf spearheaded the campaign against the decades old, family-run business.

Wolf owns Denver Central Market, which houses one of the businesses whose owner filed a complaint, High Point Creamery. He also owns the buildings that are home to almost all of the other businesses that filed complaints: 10 Barrel Brewing Co., Samana Float Center, LIV Studio and Visions West Contemporary.

Joe’s Liquors has been operated by the Choi family at 2644 Larimer St. for more than three decades.

Now that they’ve all come to an agreement, the hearing originally scheduled for June 30 will not happen.

Ashley Dean

Author: Ashley Dean

Ashley Dean covers dining and nightlife, and other odds and ends. She previously covered music and did some copy editing for the Denver Post, the Colorado Daily and the Daily Camera. She's from New York, likes her bourbon straight and has strong opinions about Kanye West. She can be reached at adean@denverite.com, 303-502-2804 or @AshleyDean.