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Hookah lounge gone in a puff

Hookah lounge gone in a puff

Business license now 'inactive'

October 14th, 2016 by Rebecca Martin in Local News

Newly cleaned hookah vases sit at the Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge in downtown Jefferson City, Mo. on Thursday, September 15, 2016.

Photo by Shelby Kardell /Fulton Sun.

After five months in business and five months of back-and-forth with city officials, Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge is closing up shop.

A representative of the business has contacted Jefferson City's Business License Division, and Golden Smoke's retail tobacco shop license is now inactive, city accountant Jessica Strubberg confirmed Thursday.

Owner Corey Hykes could not be reached Thursday for comment.

The hookah lounge, located at 633 E. High St., opened in May, offering a social environment where customers could smoke flavored hookah tobacco.

In compliance with the city's ban on indoor smoking in public places, the lounge did not serve alcohol — so it originally remained open during the "after-hours" times of 1:30-4 a.m. on weekends. Those hours were shortened after an early September building inspection determined the lounge did not meet the requirements of after-hours use.

The same early September inspection identified building code violations including the need for a second restroom, as well as needed improvements and a fire barrier separation at the rear exit. Because Golden Smoke's owner failed to submit a plan to address all of those issues by an Oct. 3 deadline, the city's Building Regulations Division reduced the lounge's occupancy from 49 to 15 people, including staff, until a sufficient plan was submitted.

Concerns about the atmosphere around the hookah lounge arose this summer after complaints from community members, which included loud music, large crowds of 100-200 people outside the lounge and litter in the surrounding neighborhood. Jefferson City police issued a series of tickets around the 600 and 700 blocks of East High Street during a special enforcement detail on weekends in August, with citations ranging from open containers of alcohol to fights to public urination.

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Feb. 29 — Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge issued Jefferson City business license

April — Jefferson City Building Regulations Division approves Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge's initial building inspection

May 6 — Golden Smoke Hookah Lounge opens for business

August — Jefferson City Police Department issues special enforcement to area on weekends after complaints from community members

Sept. 6 — Jefferson City Building Regulations Division identifies three code violations in inspection

Sept. 9 — Under city's advisement, lounge cuts after-hours operation and begins closing at 1:30 a.m.

Oct. 3 — Lounge ownership fails to submit to the city a satisfactory plan to address building code violations

Oct. 5 — City officials reduce lounge occupancy from 49 to 15 people until satisfactory plan is submitted

Oct. 13 — City officials confirm lounge's business license is inactive