Infamous Hawkins bar approved for beer permit under new management

Jeff Bobo • Dec 5, 2018 at 6:46 PM

ROGERSVILLE — An infamous Hawkins County nightspot that was well known to 911 dispatchers, EMS and county law enforcement will be reopening later this month, albeit under new management.

On Wednesday, the Hawkins County Commission’s Beer Board tentatively approved a beer sales permit for Pit Road Bar and Grill, formerly known as the The Final Lap on Highway 11-W in Mooresburg.

Approval of the beer permit for new proprietors Faith Koh and Barry Hamilton of Rogersville was contingent on them making safety improvements to the restrooms and exit doors, as well as acquiring a fire marshal inspection.

Hamilton said Pit Road will serve beer, food and soft drinks; host karaoke, bands, dancing, darts and pool tables; “and just allow people to hang out.”

The establishment will be open to patrons 18 and older.

Although the building is still owned by former Final Lap proprietor David Miller, Hamilton said Miller will have nothing to do with the operation of Pit Road.

Beer Board Chairman Danny Alvis reminded Hamilton and Koh of the bar’s history under Miller’s management, which included regular police intervention and fines by the Beer Board.

“It’s been (about eight) years ago we had to bring Mr. Miller in for a good talk, and he was fined,” Alvis said. “... It seemed like it was every weekend the sheriff’s department was down here babysitting out in the parking lot over fights. The EMS was called repeatedly. The sheriff’s office more so.”

Alvis added, “At one time this wasn’t fair to the rest of the taxpayers of Hawkins County by having the sheriff’s office down here every weekend providing security.”

Hamilton said he will have at least two people working security, including an off-duty Bean Station officer and a POST-certified former officer from Morristown, as well as former military personnel.

While inspecting the facility Alvis, Jeff Barrett and Raymond Jesse located three apparent security aids under the bar including a pipe, an aluminum baseball bat, and a wooden club engraved with the name “Bufford” —- which commissioners surmised to be named after famous Sheriff Bufford Pusser.

“I look for the incidents to go drastically down, if at all,” Hamilton told commissioners.

Alvis added, “There’s a lot of history here. I want you two (Koh and Hamilton) to be aware of it. A lot. We certainly don’t want to go back down that path.”

“I don’t want to start down that path,” Hamilton replied.

Although the beer permit was approved by vote, Alvis and Jessee withheld their signatures pending an inspection they will complete together Saturday.

Committee members toured the facility, and among the issues they wanted addressed were better lighting in the restrooms, signs identifying the men’s and women’s rooms, a door on the men’s room and locks on the women’s stall doors.

Commissioner Nancy Barker, also expressed concern about the rear emergency exit, which was dead-bolted, as well as the front door, which has a round knob instead of a breakaway door.

Commissioners were concerned that in a fire a disabled person without use of their hands couldn’t open the door. The board agreed that it would prefer having a fire marshal inspection before placing the final signatures on the beer permit.


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