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Williams & Graham withdraws liquor-license application -- and reapplies for a new one

Williams & Graham, a new speakeasy that's the vision of Todd Colehour, a former head honcho at Kona Grill, was slated to open in June with cocktail-tender Sean Kenyon.

Until recently, Kenyon had been the star-tender at the now-closed Squeaky Bean, spearheading the beverage program. He was set to oversee the cocktail syllabus at the Occidental, which Squeaky Bean owner Johnny Ballen had intended to plant in the Squeaky Bean space -- but that plan is now dead in the water. So he's slinging drinks at Euclid Hall until the Squeaky Bean finds a new place to grow -- and until Williams & Graham can get its liquor license squared away.

"We pulled the first application, because we knew it was going to be be denied," says Kenyon, explaining that the liquor-license hearing officer "didn't believe that Williams & Graham was necessary for the neighborhood or that we carried our burden of proof at the hearing." In addition, Colehour didn't have lawyer representation.

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He does now, and he's reapplied for a new license. "The hearing officer recommended denial, but we pulled it and reapplied before it actually made its way up to the Director of Excise and Licenses," notes Kenyon, who adds that Williams & Graham has the support of HUNI, the Highland United Neighbors organization, and Colehour has signed a Good Neighbor agreement. "We have plenty of support -- people walk by every day asking when we're going to open -- and there's absolutely no reason why we shouldn't be granted a liquor license this time around," Kenyon says.

If they're successful, Williams & Graham plans to hold its soft opening over Labor Day weekend.

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