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Commission to consider application for bottle club

The owners of a skating rink on County Line Road want a bottle club license so their guests can carry alcohol into the center.

Brothers Nicholas and Salvatore Sessa will ask Hernando commissioners today for permission to run a bring-your-own-bottle club, but they must also secure a license from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Sessas' request is the first bottle club application in Hernando County.

The attorney representing the Sessa brothers says a bottle club license would not limit how many times patrons could bring alcohol into the entertainment center. However, the Sessas would allow alcohol only at special events, which will be held once or twice a month, lawyer William Charnock III said.

"It's not going to be a late-night bottle club where people go after drinking," Charnock said. "It's a family center." He said there would be no alcohol allowed on the premises when children were skating.

In April, the Sessas bought and renovated the 25,000-square-foot Suncoast Skating & Entertainment Center at 10451 County Line Road. They added a snack bar, full arcade with redemption tickets, an indoor playground for children up to 8 years old, a skating rink and a teen dance hall equipped with lighting and sound equipment.

Since opening, the center, which is next to a pool hall, has hosted live concerts, all-night skate fairs and Christian skate nights.

Salvatore Sessa, vice president of Suncoast Entertainment and Skating Center and owner of Video For All in Spring Hill, declined to talk about the application Monday, saying he wouldcomment once commissioners heard his request.

Commission Chairwoman June Ester said she has several questions to ask the Sessas, such as whether the skating rink would be closed when alcohol was allowed on the premises.

"I would have a problem with people bringing their own booze while kids are inside there skating," she said. "I don't think it's appropriate to mix the two."

Charnock said the Sessas, who do not have a license to sell liquor at the establishment, want the bottle club license for concerts or when patrons reserve the hall for private parties.

"Normally, when adults go to events, they would like to bring a bottle," Charnock said.

Among other conditions, the commissioners must consider the following factors before issuing a permit, according to the county's bottle club ordinance:

No bottle club may be within 500 feet of a school or church.

The location and extent of the proposed bottle club cannot adversely affect the character of the existing neighborhood.

The county's Development Department cannot issue a permit until a copy of the state's license is placed in the Development Department's file.

Ester said: "I'm not having a whole lot of problem with it, unless there's an uprising from the neighbors."