Code compliance officers are investigating businesses at the Edgemar Center for the Arts on Main Street. (File photo)

EDGEMAR — A Main Street restaurant has pleaded no contest to 14 misdemeanor counts for, among other things, violating City Hall’s alcohol permits.
Brick + Mortar, located in the Edgemar complex, will pay $12,000 in fines and restitution and be on probation for 30 months, according to Councilmember Kevin McKeown.
Representatives from the restaurant did not respond to requests for comment by press time, nor did Code Compliance Division Manager Joe Trujillo.
Brick + Mortar has gotten in trouble a few times for operating as a bar. The restaurant is a known gathering place during University of Michigan football games.
Nearby residents of Second Street have been complaining for years about noise caused by patrons at Brick + Mortar. They are frustrated by the Edgemar complex as a whole, claiming that the parking lots are open at late hours when they aren’t supposed to be, disturbing the neighbors’ peace.
Brick + Mortar, they say, operates as a bar or nightclub despite numerous regulations that prohibit this. Queuing lines and the use of a bouncer are not allowed. Residents have recorded patrons dancing on top of Brick + Mortar’s bar.
Last year, Code Enforcement officials said they had evidence that the restaurant was violating agreements and that charges were pending. In a review of development agreements earlier this year, city officials said that Edgemar, including Brick + Mortar, was in compliance. Nearby residents vehemently disagreed.
The restaurant pleaded guilty to violating its liquor license, refusing to comply with City Hall’s administrative orders, and maintaining a public nuisance, McKeown said.
If two or more violations are documented during the probation period, he said, the plea agreement provides for loss of DJ performance and ceasing alcohol service at midnight for four to seven months.
“This is a huge victory for patient neighbors who have stuck with us through the incremental legal process needed to prove violations and then bring a rogue business to accountability,” McKeown said. “The judgment proves that the neighbors were right, and the City will protect them. Having brought this particular matter up in public at the City Council, I’m glad to demonstrate Santa Monica’s commitment to residents’ rights to quiet enjoyment of their neighborhoods.”
Jeff Gilbert, a resident of Second Street, has been vocal about the problems at Edgemar. He was less impressed with the outcome.
“I will say that we don’t know specifically what the misdemeanors are/were and that the penalties they have incurred are merely a ‘slap on the wrist’ for such a prosperous business as Brick n Mortar,” he said in an e-mail. “Now that football season is upon us, we have no reason to believe that Brick n Mortar will suddenly comply with their (conditional use permits).”

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