BUZZKILL: City Wants To Crack Down On K-Town's After-Hours Drinking
Los Angeles is looking to crack down on Koreatown's sometimes fun, but not totally legal, "after hours" scene. If you're ever been bumbling around Koreatown late at night, you may have found your way into the kind of joint that plays loose with the rules regarding what time to stop serving you booze, or whether or not it's okay to light up a smoke inside. If you're a person who values your occasional brush with rule breaking, you only tell your closest friends. If you're a person who enjoys doing the police's work for them, you Yelp your favorite bar to slurp a Hite at 3 a.m. The police have been paying attention to tips about after hours bars and are cracking down on them.
Back in April, the LAPD conducted a raid on Bongsoongah Hak Dang at 3950 Wilshire Blvd. about 2:30 a.m., the L.A. Times reports. Staff scurried around, allegedly trying to toss the beer bottles, but those futile attempts were only revealed to investigators later when they watched the surveillance footage from the bar. L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced yesterday that owner Min Ah Lee, 48, and two employees, Dae Geun Kim, 26, and Jae Hyeok Lee, 27, had been convicted of serving alcohol past 2 a.m. That's a misdemeanor, and the three were put on one year of probation. Additionally, the bar's manager and two employees were ordered to go through training on laws regarding serving alcohol.
The after hours scene has been sort of an open secret in Koreatown, although you'd typically need an 'in' to partake in the early morning debauchery. However, someone posted a review of Bongsoongah online in 2011, claiming that if you creeped down the alleyway and entered via the kitchen door, you, too, could get in on the fun.
While you may be quick to assail the snitch for giving up the secret, Feuer did reveal that Koreatown's neighbors and business owners registered after hours booze sales as one of their top complaints. He also said that neighbors complained that Bongsoongah was noisy until 6 a.m. sometimes. He also blamed the late-night drinking for other crimes, like drunk driving and sexual assault.
Koreatown businesses had been warned earlier in the year to follow the laws, according to LAPD Captain Vito Palazzolo.
“The Olympic Area police station has been working with local bars and restaurants to ensure compliance with the law," he said in a release from the City Attorney's office. "Bars and restaurants that operate after hours and commit other related violations not only gain an unfair advantage over law-abiding businesses, they also lead to the commission of crimes such as assaults, drunk in public, and driving under the influence—crimes that are detrimental to our community."
Feuer said that "this conviction is a product of an effective partnership between my office and law enforcement and sends a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated."