Green’s Tavern in Flowery Branch won’t be able to serve alcoholic beverages for 6 weeks, pending an appeal, if the restaurant decides to file one, in Hall County Superior Court.
Flowery Branch City Council voted 3-0 for the suspension Thursday night after a 3-hour hearing in which the restaurant was accused of serving drinks to already drunken patrons and employees were serving without pouring permits or alcohol awareness training certificates.
The patrons left the restaurant, which is off Hog Mountain Road south of Spout Springs Road, after being served and promptly caused a head-on collision with another vehicle, according to testimony at the hearing.
The driver of the other vehicle was 9 months pregnant
“I hope we don’t see you guys back here again,” said Councilman Fred Richards, who settled on 6 weeks even though, he said, he could go for a stricter punishment.
Councilmen Joe Anglin and Chris Mundy also voted for the suspension.
At stake was a possible revocation of the Green’s Tavern’s alcoholic beverage license, and it was clear Mayor Mike Miller didn’t agree with the vote.
“I have no sympathy,” he said. “If you want to go lenient with 6 weeks, that would be your prerogative.”
The vote also went against City Clerk Melissa McCain’s recommendation.
Initially, she considered a 3-week suspension but decided on full revocation after learning more about the incident and seeing a videotape inside the bar that shows the patrons’ interactions with employees, she said during the hearing.
“I see an organization-wide failure to comply with the rules,” City Attorney Ron Bennett said during his closing statement to the council.
Green’s Tavern lawyer, Brent Sherota, asked the city council to watch the video before deciding the case, especially as a revocation would likely close the business.
The patrons being “noticeably intoxicated is just not there,” he said, referring to the video. “Once they became loud and boisterous, they were cut off (from further drinks).”
“This is a crazy situation,” Sherota said. “Nobody anticipated it and nobody encouraged it. … I don’t think (the bartender) ever thought, ‘Wow, these guys are really hammered. I’m going to keep serving them.’”
The city will send a written notice to Green’s Tavern notifying them of the council’s decision, Bennett said.
The restaurant then has 30 days to appeal the decision to Superior Court, he added.
“If they do not appeal on that 30th day, the suspension will take effect,” Bennett said.
Co-owner Josh Tedder, who said during the hearing that a revocation would effectively close the business, declined to comment after the hearing.