LOS ANGELES – On February 15, 2019, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced that his office filed 40 criminal charges against the owners and operators of Playhouse nightclub in Hollywood for alleged after-hours alcohol sales, over-serving customers and lack of security. The announcement follows multi-agency inspections by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, the Los Angeles Planning Department and the Los Angeles Police Department, conducted over the course of ten months.
“ABC agents work very well with local law enforcement officers to investigate establishments with liquor licenses,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “When licensees don’t observe ABC laws, the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods and communities can decrease and public safety is at risk.”
A shooting occurred outside Playhouse in the early morning January 1, 2018, wounding a patron in the leg. Officers entered the location to investigate and discovered patrons still being served alcohol at approximately 2:45 a.m. The investigation concluded on October 25, 2018, when officers observed an underage patron leaving the club and was found to be in possession of an unregistered firearm.
Over the course of seven inspections, numerous alleged permit and Penal Code violations were documented. Officers repeatedly warned the operators about the alleged violations.
- Seven counts arise from the alleged failure to provide adequate security and follow proper security procedures. This location, including its adjoined parking lot, has been the site of frequent thefts, an armed robbery, and numerous assaults, including an October 7, 2018, brawl involving approximately 20 intoxicated patrons that ended in a shooting.
- Six counts arise from allegedly serving drinks to patrons who were obviously intoxicated, in some cases having blood alcohol levels more than two and a half times the legal limit. Between May and October of 2018, three women reported being victims of alcohol-induced sexual assault; one woman was 20 years old at the time of the alleged attack.
- Two counts arise from allegedly failing to keep an unsecured back door shut and locked and one count arises from allowing a minor on the premises. A minor in possession of an unregistered firearm was observed using this unsecured door, thereby avoiding security which would have prevented her entry.
In 2016, the City Attorney’s Office filed two cases against the operators of Playhouse for similar violations. On September 7, 2016, Robert Vinokur pleaded guilty and was placed on formal diversion in which the case would be dismissed if the defendant obeyed for 12 months. During the period of diversion, no new complaints were submitted to the City Attorney’s Office. On September 7, 2017 the case was dismissed.
Playhouse nightclub is currently facing actions by the Los Angeles Zoning Commission and the California Alcoholic Beverage Commission for persistent alleged violations of relevant permits.