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Police respond to 171 calls in 2 years at the same downtown Atlanta hookah lounge

ATLANTA — Atlanta city leaders are taking steps to close a local hookah bar they say has become too dangerous. It’s right next to the Georgia Aquarium and several hotels.

Officials said shootings, fights and car break-ins all center around the Encore Lounge on Luckie Street in downtown Atlanta.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston has learned police were called at least 171 times to the lounge in two years.

This week, the city filed a 29-page complaint in Fulton County Superior Court to get an emergency restraining order to shut it down.

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Channel 2 has covered several crimes in the area. On Feb. 2, a security guard at the Encore Lounge was shot and killed. Four months earlier, an officer got into a gun battle with a man and killed him outside the lounge.

The city’s complaint also mentions a fight inside the lounge and shootout on Luckie Street where several bullets went through the glass of the Georgia Aquarium in Sept. 2021. Aquarium workers said six bullet casings were found around the dolphin tank.

Employees at a nearby hotel said they fear for their safety after so many shootings and fights from the Encore, according to the complaint.

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Channel 2 Action News called the lounge and the landlord for the property.

Habif Properties, LLC manages the property and told Huddleston they are working to evict the lounge.

“We are aware of the motion for a Temporary Restraining Order brought by the City of Atlanta against Encore Lounge, which is occupying this property as a holdover tenant. We are continuing our legal efforts to evict Encore Lounge from the property and will fully comply with the City of Atlanta in our shared goal of removing this tenant as soon as permitted by law.”

The Atlanta mayor’s office sent a statement that said it would be inappropriate to comment on pending litigation.

The court could make a decision about the temporary restraining order sometime this week.