In the wake of the fatal shooting at the French Club on Spencer Avenue last Saturday, Council President Matt Frank – who represents that area – said he would like to have a closer look at all the social clubs in the city and he would call for a revocation of the French Club’s licenses.
He said he has run up against problems at the French Club for quite some time, and the genesis of those complaints – and Saturday’s shooting – is that the Club is operating more as a bar and not a private social club.
“I plan on being at the License Commission meeting when they talk about this and as a City Councillor I will be calling for suspension or revocation their license,” he said. “They obviously didn’t have control of their clientele last Saturday and they shouldn’t have clientele. They should have a membership…The French Club is not a bar and it’s operating as a bar. One of my biggest concerns has been coming up with a plan of enforcing these social clubs that act as bars. If these places want to operate as a club or a bar, they cannot do it with a social club license. That’s not what it’s for.”
He said the large number of social clubs in the city operate as intended – a private club with a known membership. He said now might be the time to call all social clubs up to the Council to review each club’s policies.
“I think maybe we need to ask the social clubs across the city about their policies,” he said. “Most of them in my district – except for the French Club – have a very strict policy. At most of them, unless you’re a member, you don’t go inside. That may be off-putting to some, but it’s how these clubs are legally supposed to operate.” Social clubs were once extremely popular in the city and thousands belonged to various clubs. However, as demographics and the culture of society has changed, social clubs have waned in popularity. Many remain very small and tight-knit while others – such as the St. Andrew’s Club – no longer exist. Other, though, have turned waning clubs into entertainment venues.