Seven Harford businesses that were found guilty of selling alcohol to minors in January were fined Wednesday by the Harford County Liquor Control Board.
The businesses were part of a Jan. 23 compliance test in which 40 percent of businesses failed, prompting concern from board members.
Four of the businesses' employees did not request identification from the underage police cadet with the Bel Air Police Department, while employees of the other three asked for and saw ID and served alcohol anyway, according to the violation report from Inspector Charles Robbins.
A 7-Eleven store in the 700 block of West Bel Air Avenue in Aberdeen was fined $2,000. It also failed a 2010 compliance test for selling alcohol to an underage person. The store was fined $2,000 at that time, too.
Ice House Liquors in Aberdeen, Festival Spirits & Wine in Bel Air, Chili's Grill & Bar, Woodbridge Liquors in Edgewood, Sapore di Mare in Joppa and Island Liquors in Joppa were each fined $1,000.
Board member Thomas Fidler said he was concerned that many of the resident licensees were not at the business during the compliance test, which took place in the early evening.
"This board is starting to question residents on site," Fidler said, noting he hopes to come down harder on licensees who do not appear to be at the business.
Board member Michael Thomson said: "We had 13 violations over the last two meetings, the majority of which did not card."
Thomson said he had no choice but to assume that those who did card knew that a vertical license automatically meant the person was underage but chose to serve alcohol anyway.
A bartender at Chili's in Bel Air was fired after she not only failed to ask the cadet for identification, but served him two beers, as the restaurant was having a two-for-one happy hour promotion.
A lawyer for Chili's said the employee was fired immediately, as she had just been trained on alcohol compliance the prior week.
At Ice House Liquors, licensee Steve Stein said he failed to ask for the cadet's ID because he mistook the cadet for a regular customer.
"It will never happen again, I guarantee you that," he said. "Now I card everyone, even regular customers."
St. Patrick's Day, business changes
Inspector Charles Robbins said the unusually snowy St. Patrick's Day on Monday actually hurt business for bars in Bel Air.
"I think the snow hurt," he told the board, adding Saturday had a good turnout, but Monday only picked up later in the day. "The crowds were not what they expected on Monday."
All the Bel Air licensees "did a great job," he said, with only three people arrested, all for minor violations, over the entire weekend.
Liberatore's restaurant in Bel Air received a permit to build an outside seating area, Robbins said, similar to the nearby Open Door Cafe.
Bonefish Grille in Bel Air plans to add lunch hours starting April 3. The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Also at the board meeting, one-day beer and wine licenses were given to FCCAU for a second annual Retro Dance on March 29; an April 5 Bawdy Sing-a-Long at Havre de Grace Maritime Museum; an April 5 Spring Fling for the Edgewood High School Alumni Association; an April 11 bull and oyster roast for the Harford Community Action Agency; an April 12 southern shrimp feast for the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation; and an April 12 Romancing the Chrome car show for the Harford County Public Library Foundation.
A one-day beer, wine and liquor license was also approved for Ladew Topiary Gardens for the April 12 My Lady's Manor reception.