Private after-hour social clubs difficult to track, police in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI – There is no hard-and-fast policing strategy of after-hour private clubs in the city, and often, authorities don’t even know of their existence until violence erupts or until they're called for service.

Unlike traditional bars, which require a liquor license granted by the state to sell alcohol, all private after-hour clubs need to do to is abide by city zoning laws and charge a membership fee to serve alcohol – not sell it, authorities said.

And when the clock strikes 2 a.m. here, bars close down and stop serving alcohol.

A dynamic alternative after-hours scene could be moving to fill the vacuum with a palette of unlicensed social clubs. Akin to the password-required speakeasy joints of the bygone Prohibition era, the exclusiveness of these places is the hook to their appeal.

Insiders can read when police intervene or crack down on unlawful after-hour social clubs and what rules govern their operation.

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