Liv Lounge abruptly closes in Dearborn

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Dearborn — Residents who filled the City Council chambers Monday night applauded when they learned the Liv Lounge had closed.

City officials were slated to weigh whether to revoke the popular nightspot’s liquor license after complaints about noise, violence and other issues. With a surprise closing announced during the public hearing on the issue, neighbors and others were pleased the outcry appeared to have had an effect.

“I think the message is very loud and clear: there is zero tolerance for this type of behavior, business activity within the city of Dearborn,” City Council President Susan Dabaja said.

It was not immediately clear whether the city needed to move ahead with the revocation. Amir Makled, the attorney representing Liv, said the building’s landlord would sell the property to another party “not interested in having a liquor license or bar.” Per the city ordinance, that means the liquor license could be held in escrow, Makled said.

The hearing was a continuation of meetings on revoking the Class C liquor license, according to the city website.

Dearborn’s code allows the City Council to request the revocation for reasons including numerous police contacts and “a pattern of patron conduct in the neighborhood of the licensed premises which is in violation of the law and/or disturbs the peace, order and tranquility of the neighborhood.”

The meeting came less than two months after an argument on a crowded dance floor prompted a partygoer to allegedly spray champagne in another man’s face before producing a pistol and shooting him, police said. The victim had a nonfatal wound.

Council members and residents who spoke Monday also described overcrowding and the frequent police presence.

The panel had been expected to forward a recommendation to the Liquor Control Commission, officials said.

Others say the issue is not limited to Liv. Dearborn police said a Sterling Heights woman fired a gun twice during a dispute this month outside the Post Bar.

Ali Sabra, who held Liv Lounge’s liquor license, told the council the lease was effectively terminated. He also said no problems were ever intended at the popular spot for parties, hookahs and radio broadcasts. “It was a family-oriented place.”

With the nightspot shuttered and questions remaining about what will replace it, the council voted to suspend the public hearing Monday. “It’ll also give us the ability to monitor who the transfer is going to,” said Thomas Tafelski, council president pro-tem.

While some meeting attendees had concerns about city officials addressing how local businesses are managed, many welcomed the end of Liv, which replaced Kiernan’s Steak House, and Silky’s Martini & Music Cafe when the owners closed the spots in 2014..

The nightclub’s closure was “tremendous,” said Karen Nigosian, whose business is nearby. “We don’t want to see it happen to other communities.”