The Strip–A Fool’s Paradise?

It’s interesting that T-Town‘s Mayor Walt Maddox, when he recently spoke about gastropubs said that “You have a lot of places in Tuscaloosa, not just The Strip, that masquerade as a restaurant, but they’re really a bar.”

The Strip has been the site of much violence. The business license of the High Tide bar was revoked after a shooting in 2019, but a lot has occurred on the The Strip since then. And bars have continued to proliferate on The Strip.

1819 NewsErica Thomas wrote about the violence in Tuscaloosa. In an interview on Tuscaloosa’s 95.3 The Bear’s “Steve & DC Show,” Maddox said:

“So many times in these cases, it is absolutely unbelievable what provokes people to pull out a firearm or semi-automatic weapon and take someone else’s life,” Maddox said. “It’s senseless, it’s reckless and inhumane.”

Maddox, as recounted in the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) in April, 2021, had high hopes for the hybrid bar restaurant Twelve/25. It is now considered to be a gastropub. It was among other establishments outside of which large crowds gathered on the The Strip during an A-Day weekend.

In one area on The Strip there are three Gastropubs in a row, as was written about in the FSB in July, 2022. At a Council Administration and Policy Committee meeting in February, 2023, City Attorney Scott Holmes said that some gastropubs, have morphed from restaurants to, not just bars, but to “mega-bars,” with hundreds of patrons.

On February 28, 2023, the City Council amended the city code Sec. 7-33 – Revocation of license or privilege to obtain a license. If a business application “contains false or misleading information or an omission of a material fact,” then its license can be revoked. A proposal for a gastropub, for example, might not accurately depict the intended operation of the business in a way that is more like a lounge than a gastropub.

In August, 2022, the City Council approved a queuing ordinance, as reported by ABC 33/40‘s Valerie Bell. The ordinance was intended to reduce the congestion on the sidewalk. Hundreds of people, who are trying to get into bars, have packed the sidewalks on The Strip.

The Tuscaloosa Thread‘s Stephen Dethrage reported that the University of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa were opening a shared precinct on The Strip in the hopes that it will result in less violence. The University and Tuscaloosa had already been cooperating by dedicating police officers to a “Strip Detail.”

With Spring Break in progress at the University of Alabama, T-Town will doubtlessly see less action on The Strip. However, should its basketball team go to the Final Four and win a National Championship, the effectiveness of the new police precinct will likely be tested.


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