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'Don't need that happening anywhere in our county': Bibb puts restrictions on north Macon 20's Pub

Commissioner Bill Howell proposed the restrictions. He says the county can take history into consideration when deciding on alcohol licenses.

MACON, Ga. — The Macon-Bibb County commission wants a north Macon bar under new management to operate with tighter regulations.

This week, they voted to place restrictions on the alcohol license at 20's Pub because of some history with its owner. 

One of those restrictions is for the bar to have security in place from 9 p.m. until close on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Many people who work in the same plaza say they've heard of few problems coming from the bar. They say it's a very quiet area.

"Dealing with people, getting to see a lot of people who have been eating it for years. Generation after generation," said Susan Weaver, who manages Fresh Air Bar-B-Que nearby.

After 30 years working at Fresh Air, it's safe to say Weaver knows the place well. She also knows the other stores in the plaza like 20's Pub.

"They have good crowds down there. You can tell from all the cars in the parking lot. And it just seems like people go down there to have a good time," Weaver said.

Weaver says she hasn't heard of any violent incidents at the pub, and Macon-Bibb commissioners want to make sure it stays that way. 

The bar's new owner, Tim Obelgoner, used to run the Thirsty Turtle downtown. That's part of the reason for the restrictions.

"The applicant has had some past history. And I think maybe in the past he didn't take things quite as seriously as he should be," said Commissioner Bill Howell.

The Thirsty Turtle closed in in 2021 after several violent incidents, including a mass shooting in November 2020. 

Howell proposed the tighter rules. He says the commission can take owners' history into consideration when deciding on alcohol licenses.

"We certainly don't need that happening anywhere in our county. And somewhere that's already established as a neighborhood bar, I don't want to see that change," Howell said.

If it does change, Howell says the other regulations allow the county to take the 20's Pub license away.

"I want the option there if this gets to be a pattern that we can do something a little more quickly than past," Howell explained.

Obelgoner and his son Matthew will have a chance to appeal the county's decision. They declined to comment for the story, and referred us to their lawyer. He was not available for comment.

Mayor Lester Miller says despite the commission's vote to impose the restrictions, it is not final yet. He says Obelgoner needs to have the chance to appeal first.

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