Twelve/25 — Just A Sports Bar?

The owners of Twelve25, after being rebuffed in court in a federal lawsuit that claimed the city was discriminating against the bar because it was owned by blacks, may roll the dice in a local court.

City Attorney Scott Holmes said that some gastropubs, had morphed from restaurants to, not just bars, but to “mega-bars,” with hundreds of patrons.

If such establishments had a lounge license it would harder, if not impossible, to pack under age drinkers into their venues.

Sec. 3-41 of Tuscaloosa‘s municipal code states:

It shall be unlawful for any person to be in, on, or upon the licensed premises of any establishment licensed by the alcoholic beverage control board of the state as a lounge retail liquor licensee, in violation of any state law regulating the age of persons allowed on such premises.

Of course under age patrons might succeed in entering a lounge by using a fake ID. Having an establishment classified as a “gastropub,” where food service is offered until morphing into a bar, was a good workaround.

Tuscaloosa Police Department‘s Chief Brent Blankley at the January 17th, 2023, Tuscaloosa Pre-Council meeting said, “I’d like to remind the Council that gastropubs have had issues–that they have been turning into full-fledged bars.”

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.

The ordinance would restrict a gastropub’s occupancy limit. Twelve25‘s practice of removing tables and chairs after food service ended had allowed hundreds of people to be packed in like sardines.

Lawyers for Twelve25 actually said that 287 “patrons” were contractually allowed.

Twelve25 began as a sports bar that Mayor Walt Maddox once praised as offering the “three things I love in life: beer, food and sports.” On an A-Day weekend in 2021 when Nle Choppa, a rap artist from Tennessee, appeared mayhem broke out.

Emily Enfinger reported on the A-Day game weekend incidents in the Tuscaloosa News:

Tuscaloosa police responded to a total of 271 calls for service on the day of the A-Day game, the 24-hour period from early Saturday morning through early Sunday morning.

Several incidents that occurred overnight resulted in multiple arrests and six weapons, including an AK-47, being confiscated by police, according to a Tuscaloosa police news release.

Lee Busby, the Council member for the District Twelve25 is in, once asked, “How many casualties” will be city be “willing to endure” as a result of making it so easy for people to consume alcohol?

Twelve25 was once publicized as a Mecca for University of Alabama students. The Crimson White‘s Grace Schepis wrote in 2020:

Twelve25 will be home to three distinct internal sections: a main VIP section to the left, a central restaurant area and a traditional bar layout to the right. With maximum flexibility as the main goal, Jarrett hopes for the possibility to entertain simultaneous events in each section of the bar. 

T-Town‘s Mayor Walt Maddox, said this about gastropubs, “You have a lot of places in Tuscaloosa that masquerade as a restaurant, but they’re really a bar.”

Has Twelve25 become a pariah in T-Town? Is it the victim of racist Tuscaloosa city leaders, as the attorneys for Twelve25 assert? Or is it a just good idea that went bad?


3 thoughts on “Twelve/25 — Just A Sports Bar?

  1. Tuscaloosa Thread ‘s Dre Day wrote: “[Bar owner] Jarrett mentioned Tuscaloosa’s Mayor Walt Maddox and the council, who were named individually in the lawsuit.

    “‘They’re ok with our athletes playing football, scoring touchdowns. They’re ok with our athletes shooting ball, making dunks, shooting threes but they do not want our African Americans on the Strip.'”

  2. The Patch‘s Ryan Phillips posted a story on the evolving legal situation:

    “Attorneys for the City of Tuscaloosa are now likely to file motions for the court to consider the validity in of Twelve25’s claims in an effort to dismiss the civil suit.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s