By Randy Cox
LILBURN — An overflow crowd of more than 100 patrons from the Sports Fan bar showed up at the Lilburn City Council meeting to express their opposition to an ordinance which prohibits 17 liquor-serving establishments from letting their patrons participate in karaoke, pool, darts, poker and trivia contests.
The council, by a 3-to-1 vote, passed the ordinance in the regular business session before a packed house. The ordinance will allow passive entertainment such as television viewing, ambient music, and video games, but will not allow the more interactive games and entertainment. Councilman Ken Swaim, who voted against the ordinance, said he wanted to add karaoke and trivia to the measure.
Several residents and nonresidents of Lilburn spoke against the ordinance, including Ray Pritchett, a resident of Lilburn for 60 years, who told the council: “The problem that I have with the ordinance — karaoke, pool, … why does that bother anyone? Why should it bother y'all … leave them alone. There’s more things in the city of Lilburn to be discussing than this.”
“We need to do something to bring the businesses into the city instead of running them out,” he said.
Mayor Jack Bolton, who has had to take the brunt of the criticism, said additional changes to allow some interactive entertainment was discussed by the Council, but that it “wasn’t prepared for any additional changes tonight.”
Bolton said people are welcome to party in establishments outside the city, but he isn’t interested in the crime and problems associated with bars. Some of the criminal cases involving this type of establishment include disorderly conduct, fighting, gambling, DUI and battery, according to the council.
Richard Sullivan of Snellville, had a comment from the business perspective.
“I would be curious to know what businesses would think about what is happening here tonight,” he said, adding that he didn’t see any harm in businesses letting their patrons participate in these interactive games to sustain their livelihood.
Jenny Crawford, who works at the sports bar, brought in a petition with 300 signatures on it protesting the ordinance.
“If they take away these activities, they’ll have to go somewhere else,” she said.
Leeann Marshall of Lilburn said she thinks pool, karaoke and darts should be allowed.
“We pay our taxes, too … we have the right to enjoy our freedom,” she said.
Woody McClure, franchise holder for the American Poolplayers Association, said about 400 residents in Lilburn play pool, and some frequent the sports bars within the city limits.
“I hope you will reconsider to let billiards be a part of this ordinance,” he said. “We operate in a manner so we don’t allow an uproar in playing pool.”
Bolton said he has nothing against karaoke, but their original intent in licensing liquor by the drink was incidental at an eating establishment. He said karaoke and other types of activities are allowed in Lilburn, just not in places that serve alcohol. The city only has permits for restaurants and the law says that at least 50 percent of the restaurant’s revenues must come from food sales.
“I would have to say the Sports Fan did a great job in getting their people out tonight,” said Bolton, adding that he’s open to suggestions for recrafting the ordinance. “This ordinance is a work in progress,” he said.
LILBURN, Ga. - More than 100 people packed a city council meeting to voice their opposition to a city law that bans karaoke, dancing, cards and trivia contests at restaurants that also serve alcohol.
Many in the crowd Monday night came to support the Sports Fan Bar & Grill, a local tavern where they go to sing and to play darts, trivia and pool.
Ray Pritchett, a Lilburn resident for 60 years, suggested banning song and games from places that sell alcohol was un-American.
Meanwhile, council member Scott Batterton warned that the council should stick to its commitment to keep bars out of Lilburn, which is northeast of Atlanta.
Lilburn Mayor Jack Bolton, who has taken the brunt of the criticism, said people are welcome to party in establishments outside the city, but he does not want the crime and problems associated with bars.Ga. city reverses karaoke ban
Posted on: Friday, 17 April 2009, 15:22 CDT
An Atlanta suburb has brought back karaoke, allowing restaurants once more to lure customers with sing-alongs, darts, pool and trivia contests.
The Lilburn council banned "interactive entertainment" at establishments that serve alcohol two years ago. The action came amidst a controversy over a specific restaurant, which has since closed.
"Lilburn has matured, and we want to keep it vibrant," Mayor Diana Preston told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. "Our focus is keeping our business community strong and that means a diversity of businesses."
The council revised its liquor law again Tuesday.
Bob Carmen, owner of the Oyster Barn Grill & Bar said he thought the ban was "provincial." But he said he does not plan to bring back the karaoke machines and other entertainment paraphernalia that the previous owner removed in 2007. Instead he says his focus is to lure customers with his food. (story source...)