Purple Haze club granted extension in case for later hours

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Purple Haze Night Club was granted more time Monday to prove it's part of the Beale Street Historic District, a designation that would allow the club to keep serving alcohol until 5 a.m.

The suit had a hearing in Chancery Court on Monday morning.

Purple Haze, located in a modern building a block south of Beale on Second Street, would be required to stop serving at 3 a.m. if a lawsuit filed by the owners of nearby Club 152 — a group that includes Kevin Kane, president and CEO of the Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau — prevails.

That group says the later hours aren't allowed because the building is not part of the Beale Street district, and they have support from the city of Memphis and Downtown Memphis Commission.

"We've alleged more than enough facts that show Purple Haze nightclub is in violation of the liquor statutes that define whether you can sell alcohol until 5 a.m. or not," said Brad Eiseman, attorney for Club 152.

But Purple Haze club owners argue the property should be able to serve drinks an extra two hours like its neighbors around the corner on Beale.

"Once all facts are brought before the court we are confident that we will prevail and continue our normal operations until 5 a.m.,” Pat Thomasson, Purple Haze's owner, said in a statement.

The area around Purple Haze has a history of crime issues including a shooting in April. But a spokeswoman for Purple Haze said those have mostly happened outside the club.

"We have very few incidents reported within the club," Valerie Morris said. "There are many that potentially happen outside the club. That is why we continue to say these are false accusations putting my client in an unfavorable light."

The attorney for Purple Haze asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit but he denied that request Monday.

City officials declined to comment outside the hearing. The case is set to go to trial in September 2018.

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