Norfolk nightclub's permit revoked after continued violence

Posted at 3:09 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 21:05:37-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A Norfolk nightclub is being forced to shut its doors after city council voted to revoke its permit.

At 6 p.m., a city council hearing took place to discuss possibly revoking the conditional use permit of the Culture Restaurant and Lounge on Granby Street and Origami Asian Bistro on Virginia Beach Blvd., as some say they are a magnet for violence.

The City Attorney's Office says the city “has received evidence that one or more of the conditions made part of the 'Conditional Use Permit granted'" have been violated.

After its revitalization, the NEON District has made a name for itself with its vibrant and artsy funky personality, but many residents and business owners here say the Culture Club is contaminating neighborhood.

"Thursday, August 12 was breaking point for NEON District businesses," said Thomas Morrisette, owner of the Museum Apartments across from Culture.

News 3 got a look at surveillance video from a neighboring business that shows men holding guns and shooting them multiple times that night.

It was a shootout that left destruction - bullet holes through walls and doors and people running for their lives.

"We have suffered three years of Culture’s culture," said Morrisette

"You go to bed at normal bedtime, wake up, and one or two in the morning with people yelling outside, gunshots in the street, and it just got old," said Nancy Trammell, a former NEON District resident.

Trammell lived across the street from Culture for years. Just recently, she was compelled to move out because of the violence.

"It had been building for a while, and I couldn't handle it anymore and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore," she said.

The Culture Lounge opened in 2018 - and since then, there have been dozens upon dozens of shootings, stabbings, assaults and calls for disturbances, according to a police log obtained by News 3.

"It all started two weeks after Culture opened," said Morrisette.

But, the attorney for the club, Kevin Martingayle, says Culture is getting a bad rap. He told city council in a letter that there have been no violations laws broken.

Martingayle says the club knew nothing about a revocation until last week and is now asking for a delay in the hearing.

Culture's hearing has been continued to next Tuesday, December 14.

Across town, Origami Asian Bistro was also on the docket for a revocation hearing - this after continued violence there.

During the city council meeting, the ordinance passed and Origami's permit has been revoked with a vote of 6-1 and one abstention.

However, not all businesses are speaking out against Culture, as the attorney for the club did share that several businesses that wrote in had no issues with the club staying open.

Related: Man charged in Granby Street shooting that resulted in property damage