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License revoked after investigation
Glynn County Commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to revoke the liquor license of the R-Bar and Grill, saying the establishment didn't meet the requirements to qualify as a restaurant serving alcoholic beverages.

Prior to the vote, Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said the business at 5719 Altama Ave., deserved to have its license to sell alcoholic beverages revoked for a number of reasons.

Doering said the business has been unable to provide receipts that break down alcohol and food sales, as required by state law. Representatives for the business were unable to show any documentation to prove it met state regulations at Thursday's meeting.

When investigators went into the business, they saw no evidence that food was served. In fact, they tried to order from a limited menu and were unable to do so, Doering said.

The menu consists of jerk chicken, chicken wings, chicken fingers, onion rings and french fries. But when Doering said he visited the business, the only food items in the kitchen were in an average-sized refrigerator similar to one in a family home. The refrigerator was mostly empty and only had a box of hamburgers and several bags of wings. There were no fries or onion rings.

There were also complaints about underage customers and a partially nude dancer in the business.

Commissioner Dale Provezano, who has a background in restaurant management, asked if the business could show food purchase receipts, which would at least indicate intent to operate as a restaurant.

"You're claiming to be a restaurant," he said. "If you're selling food, you have to buy food. I don't believe you're selling enough food to qualify as a restaurant."

He also questioned the menu, saying it doesn't qualify under state law as a "substantial entree menu" to make it eligible for a liquor license.

Alan Tucker, a lawyer representing the business, disputed the claim the R-Bar is not operating within the guidelines for a restaurant with a liquor license.

Tucker showed still photos and a video showing food being prepared in the kitchen and being served to customers sitting at tables inside the establishment. When questioned why he showed the video, Tucker said he wanted to prove to commissioners that the business was being operated as a restaurant.

A kitchen manager from the business said he didn't keep a large inventory of food because it was easier to run across the street to a supermarket if they didn't have it in the refrigerator.

Doering said the business also generated other concerns.

He said police have had to respond to 19 calls the past year that were "relevant," meaning they were more than a routine call about a minor traffic accident in the parking lot.

In eight of those calls, Doering said arrests were made. Six complaints were about bar fights. Another was in response to a robbery in the parking lot.

The business also had its liquor license revoked in 2010 for 60 days for similar violations, so the owners should have been aware of the state laws governing restaurants, Doering said.

Before commissioner Richard Strickland made the motion to revoke the license, he said the owners were warned when their license was suspended 60 days two years ago to "never come back before us with these issues."

The decision cannot be appealed before county commissioners.

* Reporter Gordon Jackson writes about government and other local topics. Contact him at gjackson@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 323.



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