Club 152 on Beale Closed as Nuisance

By Bill Dries

Club 152 in the Beale Street entertainment district was closed Thursday, May 16, as a public nuisance.

Memphis Police and officials with the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office emptied the three-level club of customers and employees and then had a locksmith padlock the doors to the club.

The club was closed at least temporarily under a court injunction sought by prosecutors citing the owners of the club, Club 152 Operating Company LLC, for allowing the sale of drugs to an undercover police officer numerous times since November 2012.

The West Tennessee Drug Task Force used an undercover officer from the Bartlett Police Department according to District Attorney General Amy Weirich.

Her office is pursuing criminal charges against those who allegedly sold the drugs – marijuana, cocaine, Percocet and Xanax – to the undercover officer.

“The drug activities at Club 152 occurred in front of management and in some instances by employees at the club,” said drug task force director Tim Helldorfer. “This is unacceptable.”

The nuisance action also cites 130 police calls to the club from January 2012 to April 2013 for a variety of offenses including more than 20 fights inside the club and 37 arrests for offenses including firearms charges, assault and disorderly conduct.

The owners are due in General Sessions Environmental Court Monday, May 20, for the first of what are expected to be several hearings.

During those hearings, prosecutors usually set conditions for the business to reopen including signage and pledges to more strictly enforce laws.

That was the case in 2007 when another Beale Street bar, the Tap Room, was closed under an injunction citing drug sales in the club by employees and others during a six- month undercover investigation by the same multi-agency task force.

The closing of Club 152 comes five months after Club Crave at 380 Beale, just outside the formal boundaries of the entertainment district, was closed as a public nuisance for a second time. Weirich is seeking the permanent closure of the building as a nightclub and the city of Memphis is seeking the demolition of the building on the northeast corner of Beale and Fourth.