- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - The director of Nebraska’s Liquor Control Commission has said that a business plan allowing patrons of a Hastings strip club to bring their own beer is not legal.

The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/22dcqEF ) reports that Shane Harrington, the owner of Midwest Girls Club, maintains that the BYOB practice is legal because the establishment is a private membership club, which means it is private property.

Commission director Hobert Rupe disagrees, and notes that even private golf clubs need liquor licenses under the current law.

Rupe says that he has no power to enforce statutes at the establishment, but the club will be subject to enforcement by city police, local sheriff’s deputies or Nebraska State Patrol. Rupe also says that Harrington’s announcement that the club will give away alcohol at select events doesn’t mean that he does not have to get a liquor license. According to the director, the liquor statute is based on alcohol consumption, not alcohol sales.

“This is a criminal act, so if law enforcement believes they are in violation of the statute, they would need to go in and issue a ticket and then it would go to the county attorney,” Rupe said.

The club opened Dec. 3, but closed after three nights due to zoning and liquor license concerns raised by the city. The zoning issues were resolved and the club was scheduled to reopen Thursday.

Hastings City Attorney Dave Ptak said that he deferred to the Liquor Control Commission regarding any other alcohol compliance issues.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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