BREAKING: City council revokes High Tide’s business license


High Tide bouncer Malcolm Faciane addresses city council members, who voted to revoke the bar’s business license on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, Contributing Writer

At tonight’s city council meeting, the business license for the High Tide Bar was revoked following a 4-1-1 vote.

The license revocation was originally spurred by a number of recent issues, including a shooting, an assault, overcrowding and 14 instances of alcohol sales to a minor. 

The vote concluded a nearly 1.5-hour hearing on the revocation of High Tide’s business license, with councilmembers Raven Howard (District 2), Lee Busby (District 4), Eddie Pugh (District 6) and Cynthia Almond (District 3) in favor, while Sonya McKinstry (District 7) voted against the resolution. Phyllis Odom (District 1) voted to abstain, and Kip Tyner (District 5) was absent for the vote. 

The hearing procedures first saw the City Attorney’s office speak in favor of the revocation of High Tide’s business license, represented by Deputy City Attorney James Woodson, III. The owner of High Tide Bar, Alex Hollis, then presented the case against the revocation of the business license. 

The bartender on the night of the shooting, Brittany Biscailuz, was called to speak on behalf of High Tide and the bartender, Malcolm Faciane, who fought the gunman on the night of the shooting.

“Malcolm? He’s my hero,” Biscailuz said. “With all the school shootings happening lately, he stopped [the shooter] from coming into the bar. He had a gun on him anyways. [The shooter] was against our dress code. [Malcolm] saved my life that day and he saved all of us who were there that night.” 

By the time the hearing stopped allowing public comments, more than 10 people spoke out against the resolution, arguing that they had always felt safe at High Tide and that every business deserves a second chance. Only one citizen spoke in favor of the resolution, expressing worry about overcrowding. 

Following an intense discussion on the regulations surrounding overcrowding and sales of alcohol to underage patrons, the city council voted overwhelmingly in support of the resolution to revoke High Tide Bar’s business license. The councilors who voted to revoke the license cited concerns over the reported overcrowding issue. 

“It’s about something bigger than you and your bar,” Busby told Hollis. “I wake up at night worrying that we have one of these bars down here that is double capacity, and something goes wrong and someone can’t get out, and we’re sitting up here responsible.”