June 2, 2005 was the first day in five years that Casanova’s general manager Steven Burgelin had to sit at the defendant’s table in a Liquor Control Adjudication Board hearing. He was there on one count of failing to prevent a crowd from accumulating in front of his bar during one of his Wednesday Ladies’ Nights in December. It was a charge even board chairman Shigeto “Mustard” Murayama called “minor.”
Burgelin’s guilty plea cost the popular Makawao restaurant and nightclub $1,000—$500 more than Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Angela Hedge asked for—though the board did agree to suspend $500 on the condition that Casanova not get busted again on the charge this year.
The fine came despite the fact that Burgelin hit all the right notes in his statement to the board. He explained to them that he’s opposed relieving crowds at the bar by putting a second one out back. “I don’t want to sell faster,” he said. “We chose to slow down consumption.”
He told the board that he usually has four bouncers working the floor on Wednesday nights, with another two at the door, but on the night in question his “floater”—the one who actually patrols the crowd—called in sick. And he said that he’s taken steps so he’ll always have four bouncers in the future.
Hedge countered by saying Casanova has been repeatedly warned the last few years to “keep the aisles clear.” She also said the club has been recently admonished for breaking the county’s Footloose law:allowing people to dance outside the designated dancing zone.
Ironically, the Adjudication Board seemed to have no idea as to the popularity of Casanova’s Ladies’ Night. When board member M. D. Alborano asked Casanova President Stefano Segre—who sat next to Burgelin during the hearing—to explain the draw, he told her that it was simply a tradition.
“You have a gold mine!” she told him.
“I have a Wednesday gold mine!” he said.