Details emerge on past Columbia County alcohol case

Published: Oct. 14, 2022 at 6:38 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re continuing to follow up on the Columbia County Commission revoking the liquor license for Stay Social Tap and Table in Evans.

We’re now learning the same group of commissioners voted to suspend the license at another restaurant, despite it not having a commercial kitchen.

On Jan. 21, 2021, a complaint was sent to the Columbia County commissioners about the Backyard Tavern, also known as the Tavern on Belair.

From what we reported earlier on this ordinance, any complaint must then be investigated. The final decision from commissioners suspends instead of revoking the Backyard Tavern’s license.

They say it was to give them time to make changes and be compliant. During the investigation, it was found the Backyard Tavern lacked a full-service kitchen. They did serve food but with a menu like pizza rolls and cheeseburgers.

It all came from what the initial complaint said was an air fryer and microwave. Based on their findings, code enforcement began the process of suspending Backyard Tavern’s alcohol license.


The Tavern responded by wanting a public hearing, claiming ignorance of the ordinance and “operating our food like the previous owner did for the last 11 years.”

At the public hearing, the operating manager gave a timeline of what would be done in order to get the establishment up to code as soon as possible. The motion to suspend but not revoke passed unanimously from the same five commissioners on the board today.

The suspension stayed in place until Backyard Tavern became fully compliant with county codes or until the expiration of the current license. Afterward, follow-ups from the county to make sure everything is in place to help “expedite your re-opening. By June 22, 2021, the license holder surrendered her county and state alcoholic beverage licenses, effective immediately.

This was a similar alcohol license hearing to the most recent public hearing with Stay Social and an alcohol license being revoked in Columbia County means having to wait for 10 years to re-apply, where a suspension is only for a given time. Columbia County has declined to comment on these events from Feb. 2021.