Speakeasies began sprouting up in the 1920s when a ban on alcohol prompted the sale of bootlegged liquor in clandestine bars. Nowadays your chances of stumbling into a speakeasy have significantly decreased, since Prohibition ended in the '30s.
But last Monday, Fort Lauderdale Police shut down the closest thing to it -- a loud party where a man was illegally selling alcohol.
A Broward County city ordinance bans the sale of alcohol at bars (or "less than 2,000 square feet establishments") after 2 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and 3 a.m. on Sundays. Doors cannot reopen before 8 a.m. on weekdays and Saturday and noon on Sundays, leaving people with nothing to do in the wee hours of the morning.
At 4 a.m. Monday, March 10, a party at 1100 NW Fifth Ave. had no signs of letting up. That is, until neighbors called police to complain about the God-awfully loud music.
An officer was called "in reference to loud music coming from 2 large amplifiers that caused a disturbance to residents as far as 3 blocks away," the report states. The officer requested backup and additional units when he arrived at the location.
"Upon arrival I learned that [the defendant] was operating an unlicensed business out of 1100 NW 5th Ave. the purpose of which was the sale of alcoholic beverages," the report states. The report also states that "prepared food" was being sold and consumed on the premises as well. The report does not mention how many patrons were inside.
Police shut it down, and Gawens Saint Victor, 35, was arrested and taken to BSO Main Jail.
According to property records, Wells Fargo currently owns the property after the owner was foreclosed on last August. Saint Victor lives a few blocks away.
"It should be noted [Saint Victor] is on active probation for Grand Theft however it is unclear if a City Ordinance violation constitutes a substantial probation violation," the report states. In 2009, Saint Victor was charged with grand theft in the third degree and fraudulent use of credit card, but records confirm he was put on probation.
The police report states he is being charged with unlawful noise violation, alcoholic beverage violation, sale of alcoholic beverages without a license, and no vendor license (all city ordinance violations).
Saint Victor is currently out on bond but could not be reached for comment.