MACON, Ga. — A Georgia agency conducted a sting operation, cracking down on underage drinking. Now, several bars in Macon-Bibb County face citations.
The Georgia Department of Revenue says that they checked seven bars in Macon-Bibb County for possible underage drinking last week.
They include: Shay on the Mix on Eisenhower Parkway, Billy's Clubhouse on Forest Hill Road, Midtown Daiquiri Bar and Grill on Log Cabin Drive, Millennium Bar and Grill on Emery Highway, Overtyme Bar and Grill on Pio Nono Avenue, as well as Cashman's Pub and the Thirsty Turtle, both on Cherry Street.
According to the department's Deputy Commissioner Jessica Simmons, all seven were cited.
The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says this was a joint effort with the Department of Revenue to "deter underage drinking" and make sure businesses are in compliance with the Mayor's executive order.
Larry Harris is the owner of Overtyme. He says his bar has gone eight years without being cited until the last 70 days, where its been cited six times -- four of those, he says, are for COVID-19 violations related to the mayor's executive order and the other two are for underage drinking. Harris says he believes his business is being targeted and that he does not believe any underage drinking happened in his bar.
"I'm confident in my security guys at the door, that they do a great job at carding guys, and we are a 25 and up bar, so we very rarely allow people 21 to come in," Harris said.
Mayor Lester Miller says the commission can reconsider these bars' alcohol licenses when they come up for renewal, adding that an alcohol license is a "privilege".
"These are allegations that can be used for myself, and the commission to not renew a license. We have to get the attention of those that have this privilege and make sure we hold them accountable," Miller said.
This news from the state comes just days after the Thirsty Turtle reopened their doors. In November, Sheriff David Davis temporarily suspended their license after the mass shooting along Cherry Street that left one woman dead and at least six injured.
Miller says he's disappointed if the allegations of underage drinking at the bar are true.
"It shows a complete disregard of the action that the sheriff took and may shed a different light on a possible renewal coming up in the future," Miller said.
13WMAZ reached out to all the bars that the state Department of Revenue say they cited. Millennium Bar Owner Regina Smith says she believes their bar was targeted, and that she does not believe bartenders served alcohol to anyone underage.
All other bars either declined to comment or did not respond.
The state Department of Revenue says all license holders will have to go to a hearing. There, it will be determined what penalties and fines they may face.
The department says the number of times the bar has been cited for selling to underage customers will also factor into the decision.