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Troubled Impulse club surrenders its liquor license

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A Capitol Street nightclub with a reputation for violent incidents has surrendered its liquor license to the state Alcohol Beverage Control Administration.

Janet Amores, owner of Impulse nightclub, surrendered the license on Friday, ABCA spokesman Gig Robinson said.

"Impulse is no longer operational from the standpoint of the ABCA," Robinson said.

Amores said the decision wasn't easy.

"I tried my best, and I just want to do what's best for the city," she said.

She declined comment further except to say that she admires and respects Mayor Danny Jones.  

The club's liquor license was temporarily suspended after a stabbing occurred outside the establishment on Capitol Street. The suspension was to expire last Sunday, two days after the license was surrendered, Robinson said.

So the nightclub can no longer serve alcohol on the premises, he said.

Charleston also had revoked the club's conditional use permit allowing the business to sell alcohol at that location. 

Kevin Clemens, 18, of Wexford, Pa., was stabbed numerous times in the abdomen in the early morning hours of Jan. 27.

Aris Travon Hairston, 27, was arrested and charged with malicious wounding in the case.

The club has come under fire from the mayor, who vowed to shut it down after the last incident. Jones said he was pleased Amores had decided to voluntarily surrender her liquor license.

"It was time," Jones said. "I feel badly for Janet (Amores), but it was time to move on."

Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster also was pleased.

"It's good news for the police department, it's good news for the city, and it's good news for the businesses and customers that patronize Capitol Street," Webster said.

Webster said officers had to respond to incidents at the nightclub on a regular basis, and that took them away from responsibilities in other parts of the city.

However, Webster said officers would not desert Capitol Street now that Impulse no longer has a liquor license.

"We'll still be patrolling in that area," he said. "There's still a nighttime crowd on Capitol Street, and we owe it to the community to patrol there."

Officers now can focus on other areas of Capitol Street and not worry so much about what is going on inside, or just outside, Impulse, he said.

Jones was not surprised by Amores' decision to surrender her liquor license and close the bar.

"I think she used good judgment," he said. "It was the right thing to do."

Jones is unsure what he would like to see go in the vacant space at 205 Capitol Street, where Impulse was located. He said he would not support establishment of a bar at that location again.

"There'll be some slow walking and sad singing if someone else thinks they're going to get another liquor license there," he said.

Jones supported Amores' efforts to open the nightclub in 2007.

She told him the club would be an "upscale" establishment that would give young professionals a place to go after work.

However, that did not turn out to be the case, Jones said during a previous interview. He referred to Impulse as a "crime factory." 

The club has been the scene of numerous violent encounters since it opened. A man and his cousin were attacked in the club in December.

Police said Larry Martin, 23, had been standing at the bar trying to order drinks when he was stabbed four times -- once in the neck and three times in the back.

His cousin, Joseph Lucas, 27, apparently tried to help but was struck in the head with a beer bottle. The club then emptied out, and there was confusion as officers encountered both men outside the bar.

Robinson would not comment on whether he thought Impulse's closure was good for the city. However, he did say there were "too many instances that involved violence in the club and the surrounding area."

Contact writer Paul Fallon at or 304-348-4817. Follow him at


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