Underground bar raided

On Oct. 5 Police and undercover liquor agents raided a private residence suspected of running an underground bar for years in Tenino, Washington. The police accused the homeowner Tad Weber of running a private club complete with a fully stocked bar and decorations. This is the second time in two years that this residence has been raided due to suspicion of the homeowner running an unlicensed underground bar.
One of Weber’s neighbors, Dick Grayson, has been complaining about the residence for years, claiming that they are open at all hours and even sometimes have live bands playing outside under a covered stage. Additionally, Grayson added, “My big deal was the traffic […] My neighbor has kids here. The drunks come out of there. What’s eventually going to happen?”
However, the issue that Tenino Police Department are facing is that what Weber is doing is not illegal. Weber offers drinks to family and friends in his own home at no charge, simply requesting that they make a “suggested donation.”
Considering that there is no exchange of money or services for the drinks, Weber is technically not vending alcohol to anyone nor is his house a club. At worst, he faces a misdemeanor.
According to the Thurston County legal records, if the court cannot legally charge Weber for hosting an illegal club in his residence, the most that the police can get Weber for would be a noise ordinance violation if they catch him causing a significant amount of noise after 10 p.m. or before 7 a.m. The police could also set up DUI check zones around Weber’s residence in order to catch potentially intoxicated drivers coming out of Weber’s residence on their way home.
When asked about the situation by KOMO News, Weber said, “It’s just a private residence for me and my family and for us to come here and do what we want to do.” Weber said that friends have already fully restocked the shelves and ice chests in his residence. In regard to his neighbors’ complaints about him running a private club in his house, Weber said, “Like I say, we’re not open, we’re just here.”
The reason for attempting to close down bars and clubs which are not certified by the Washington State Alcohol and Cannabis Board is to prevent the sales of alcohol to minors, the sale of alcohol after legal hours, and to retrieve fees and taxes associated with the business which the state will not receive unless it is run like a business. In Thurston County, it is also illegal for restaurants, bars, clubs and stores to sell alcohol between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
In Washington State, depending on how the court rules Weber’s case, he may also face charges including, but not limited to, acting without a license, the illegal possession and transportation of alcohol, and the illegal possession of alcohol with the intent to sell. The penalties for these charges include fines and misdemeanor charges against the accused party.