License sought for bar at site of 2018 shooting

Published 12:54 pm Friday, September 16, 2022

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The Covington County Commission held a public hearing for the proposed Slinks Nighttown Bar and Grill in the Loango community during its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The proposed bar would be at the same location as the former Soggy Bottom Tavern, the site of a shooting in 2018 that resulted in the death of Zadarious McCaskill.

The commission heard from the proposed bar’s owner, Alex Myrick, during the hearing.

“The last time I was here to present the idea, I had the motive I would be able to make it more of a family-oriented lounge/restaurant environment for families to bring in children under the age of 21 as long as they were accompanied by legal guardians. I’ve been told by the ABC board I’m not allowed to do that and have revamped everything. It’s now going to be a lounge establishment where we are pushing food, hookahs, and a little bit of liquor,” Myrick said.

Myrick added that he spoke to citizens on County Road 21 regarding opening the club, which at one time was home to a club known as Soggy Bottom.

“I presented myself and everything I had to do with the club. Out of everyone there, I believe I talked to 19 residents. One resident told me as long as I keep my word to everything I’ve established in the business plan, he has no problem with me opening the business. I wanted to go speak to everyone face-to-face and let them know there will be a new owner and CEO with a brand-new revamped club. This will be a completely different environment with new music, employees, and security.”

He said the establishment would not have the same feel as Soggy Bottom Tavern.

County Attorney Stephanie Cotton inquired about Myrick’s alcohol license application.

“It asks if a liquor license — malt or brewed on these premises — has ever been denied, suspended, or revoked, and you wrote ‘no’,” Cotton said.

Myrick replied, “I’ve never had a revocation for Slinks Nighttime Bar and Grill or any grievances done against it, but Soggy Bottom did.”

Cotton said “premise” within the application refers to the address, which would be the same as Soggy Bottom. Myrick replied, in that case, Soggy Bottom did have prior grievances against it.

Referring to the application, Cotton also asked, “Are the applicants named above the only persons in any manner interested in the business sought to be licensed? You wrote that you are the only owner. Who are the members of Slinks Nighttime Bar and Grill?” Myrick responded saying he was currently the sole owner. “There are no members; it’s just me for now. I haven’t hired anyone and have legal liquor liability insurance with surety bonds and all the paperwork I need. I have backing from the bank to make sure this place is revamped with everything it needs to be established and what it needs to be for the county. Everything that needs to be legal for this club, I have the backing for it,” he said.

Myrick added that some changes have been made to the paperwork since it was originally created in March. He said the March documents had him as the acting manager with his father serving as the assistant manager.

“We found out that due to him having his liquor license taken away, he no longer can have any ties to the business. The only money he makes off that business right now is the $2,500 a month I pay him, which I have a lease for. Anything as far as ground operations inside that building, whether I make money or not, that’s on me. He has nothing to do with day-to-day operations and anything inside the club,” Myrick said.

Lee Nall spoke in opposition to the license at the hearing.

The commission voted unanimously to go into executive session following the meeting to discuss the bar’s license in further detail.

In other business:

  • The commission approved the renewal of a contract with the Department of Youth Services for the use of a bed for detention services. The bed is funded by the Southeast Alabama Diversion Center in Dothan.
  • The commission approved the adoption of a resolution on an amended contract (administrative correction) for the Wing solar project.
  • The commission approved the reimbursement of an inmate food bill at the jail through a check payment by administrator Karen Sowell.
  • The commission approved the renewal of a lease agreement for the firing range used by the Covington County Sheriff’s Department.
  • The commission approved the addition of a single parking space behind the Covington County Courthouse, and they adopted the proposed space assignments.
  • The commission approved the renewal of contracts with the Revenue Commissioner’s department.
  • The commission approved the renewal of a 20-year lease and maintenance agreement with the Alabama Department of Conservation for a public ramp at Hart’s Bridge.
  • The commission approved a Fiscal Year 2022 funds allocation agreement for the Alabama Forest Service, related to payments in lieu of taxes on federal lands.

A budget workshop will be held at the Covington County Administration Building Monday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m., to discuss and gather information in preparation of adoption of the upcoming budget at the next meeting. The workshop is open to the public.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Sept. 27, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.