ALS suspends Gaffney’s liquor license

ALBANY — A day after the nightclub and bar Gaffney’s was closed by the city of Saratoga Springs after months of violent incidents, including a stabbing early Sunday inside the bar, the State Liquor Authority suspended the Gaffney’s license to sell liquor.

Voting unanimously at a meeting called specifically to deal with the Gaffneys’ case, the three-member SLA council suspended the liquor license with immediate effect. In a presentation to the board, ALC attorney William Brennan, citing Saratoga Springs police reports, said that including Sunday’s incident, there were three stab wounds in Gaffey since October, as well as a “huge melee” in March in which three police officers were injured, requiring medical attention. Saratoga police recorded 65 reports of officers responding to public safety questions at Gaffney’s from January 2021 through March of this year, Brennan told the council.

Calling Gaffney a threat to public safety, SLA President Vincent Bradley said, “This threat is clearly increasing over time.”

Gaffey’s is entitled to a hearing to determine the status of its liquor license following the suspension. The board could take disciplinary action ranging from a monetary fine to cancellation of the license.

Gaffney’s, the trading name of a company called Saratoga Hospitality at Gaffney’s, has had its liquor license under the current operators since 2017. It was already scheduled for an SLA hearing on Thursday, postponed at Gaffney’s request to an earlier date, but the bar attorney requested a further postponement of the hearing on Monday, the ALC board was told. Unlike a hearing, Gaffney’s is not allowed to address the board in an emergency meeting like Tuesday’s.

Monday’s order from the city of Saratoga for Gaffney’s to cease operations was based on two checks, for a fire inspection and for its restaurant license, written to the city that bounced, according to the public safety commissioner James Montagnino. As a result, Montagnino said, the business does not have the proper clearances to be open to the public.

Gaffney chief executive Justin Manfro told The Times Union on Monday that his accountant said both checks cleared and paid in March.

Manfro did not return a request for comment submitted through a spokesperson on Tuesday evening.

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