OLYMPIA – The state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) yesterday issued an emergency liquor license suspension for Flowers, located at 4247 University Way NE in Seattle. The suspension is effective for 180 days beginning June 7, 2023. During that time the LCB will seek permanent revocation of the license.
Investigations conducted by the LCB’s Enforcement and Education division officers found a consistent pattern of disregard for the health and safety of the community, including serving liquor to minors, participating in violence and refusing to cooperate with law enforcement.
LCB officers have conducted 39 premises checks since the beginning of 2022. During this time, officers confiscated 20 fake IDs from minors in possession of alcohol inside the location.
In the last 12 months, there have been at least 11 calls to Seattle Police Department (SPD) for acts of violence directly related to Flowers, their staff and their patrons. Most recently, on May 21, 2023, an incident involved security staff and the licensee repeatedly punching a patron on the sidewalk outside the building, inciting a larger altercation which ultimately escalated to gunshots being fired.
In collaboration with representatives from the SPD and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, LCB officers repeatedly met with the licensees to discuss measures to prevent further violence. During these meetings, Flowers agreed to implement a variety of preventative and responsive safety measures, most of which were not completed.
There have also been multiple incidents where patrons, employees or the licensees have been uncooperative with LCB officers, firefighters and SPD officers. The licensees have refused to provide evidence to SPD and refused to cooperate with Seattle Fire Department’s requests to comply with building capacity limits.
The request for an emergency suspension was supported not only by the direct observations of LCB officers, but also by several community constituents including the Seattle Police Department, the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, the University District Partnership and several neighboring businesses.
Emergency suspensions represent an extraordinary exercise of the state’s power and the LCB is mandated to ensure that an emergency suspension is reasonable, justifiable and legal in every way. Based on the seriousness of the violations, the conduct of the licensee, and the likelihood the licensee will commit these violations in the future, the board of the LCB found that these activities constitute a direct and immediate threat to the public health and safety. The board therefore approved an emergency suspension of the license.
For more information about the Liquor and Cannabis Board, visit lcb.wa.gov.