Club Vegas Stays Open Late Despite County Law

By: Greg Gullberg Email
By: Greg Gullberg Email

[Update] Lowndes County, Ga. - April 06, 2012 -

Lowndes County changed the rules in February so that no bars could stay open past two a.m., but now many are asking why one night club is advertising that they are open till six in the morning.

Club Vegas on highway 84 is waging a public war against Lowndes County. Using their street sign they air their frustration against rule changes they call unfair.

Here the sign advertises themselves as the "After Party Spot", open till six in the morning. When in February the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners voted that all bars and night clubs need to be closed and locked by two a.m.

"We found that that's our better crowd is the after two o'clock crowd. It's really that people are accustomed to coming out to Vegas after all the other bars shutdown. It's kind of our niche," said Club Vegas Assistant Manager John Thornton.

They can do that because they found a loop hole in the law. Believe it or not, they're not selling any alcohol. They forfeited their alcohol license.

Clubs like Vegas, outside city limits, used to be able to stay open all night legally and just stop selling alcohol at two a.m. Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes says the Board of Commissioners changed that because they say too many people tempted fate by driving from city to county bars after already drinking.

She also says Club Vegas has received an especially high volume of noise complaints and police calls. Take a quick walk through nearby neighborhoods and you'll find plenty of people who have complained about the noise.

"Quite often at four o'clock in the morning I wake up and it's hard to get back to sleep because of the noise," says Terry Erskine, a nearby resident.

Erskine describes the sound, "All you hear is the boomp, boomp, just the bass."

Club Vegas has been operating its extended hours since Thursday March 29th.

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Lowndes County, Georgia - Feb. 26, 2012 -

Many party-goers in Lowndes County have enjoyed looser alcohol restrictions in bars outside the Valdosta City Limits, but now that is no longer the case.

If there were ever an expert on partying, they'd be college students. Erik Hopfvnsperger and Adam Patrick are Valdosta State University students who tell Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg that they are avid bar patrons.

"Yeah, on the weekends me and my buddies go out and have a good ole time," Hopfvnsperger tells Gullberg.

Hopfvnsperger and Patrick say they frequent local hot spots like the Remerton Strip. But when the doors close at two a.m. is the party over?

"Everybody knows when the bars close around here, you can go to a place like Rock n' Rodeo, Vegas, anything like that," says Patrick.

Bars in Lowndes County, outside Valdosta city limits, have been able to serve alcohol a full hour later, nearly three a.m. And there's been no rule on how late their doors can stay open. Until now.

The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners rewrote the rules on county alcohol sales. Specifically, they've rewritten the alcohol ordinance to make county bars share the same restrictions as city bars. Now when the clock strikes 1:55 a.m., drinks are down and the doors are closed.

Over the phone, Lowndes County Clerk Paige Dukes tells me it's a matter of safety. Too many people tempted fate by driving from city to county bars after already drinking.

And bars keeping their doors open past last call allowed patrons to purchase enough alcohol to last them for hours. Dukes says at times that would keep them drinking in the bars as late as five a.m.

But some bar patrons don't think it's fair. Gullberg found Mike Cadle enjoying a Sunday afternoon beer at "Cuz's" on Bemiss Road.

"It ain't hurting the county. It's going to hurt the business men now that they've got to cutback on hours. And that's less revenue generated by the local bars," Cadle says.

Employees at "Cuz's" say it's cutting into their business and a few bad apples are ruining it for the bunch. Club Vegas on Highway 84 has received a higher volume of police complaints.

I tried calling Club Vegas for comment. They weren't open. But they didn't have to be. Their road sign says it all.

"Thanks Lowndes County for cutting our hours and pay without notice; signed staff".

- - - SEE IT FOR YOUR SELF - - -

Below is the link to the full rewritten ordinance as provided by the Lowndes County website.

http://www.lowndescounty.com/content/welcome/m29/misc/lowndes%20county%20alcoholic%20beverage%20ordinance%202012.pdf


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  • by george Location: tallahassee fl by way of thomasville ga on Apr 9, 2012 at 11:26 AM
    tighten alcohol laws,do not loosen them and endanger more lives,keep valdosta sacred do not allow it to become just another party town. it is a small town with big charm and attractiveness,dont lose its ability to draw in the right people there.
  • by Girlfriend of Vegas Bartender Location: Valdosta on Mar 2, 2012 at 06:40 AM
    Yes, the owners/staff will loose money and I feel bad about that ~HOWEVER~, I am excited about the new change!Its safer for everyone drinking or not, and if people want to stay up til 5am they can do it in the comfort of there own home, Not in public anymore!!!So happy :)
    • reply
      by Citizen with reasonable reply on Apr 7, 2012 at 10:14 AM in reply to Girlfriend of Vegas Bartender
      How is it safer to make everyone leave an establishment at one time rather than to trickle out over the course of the evening? How is it safer not to give anyone who has been drinking time to call and wait on a sober ride home without being harassed by the police? Simple, its not. People are leaving at the same time causing more chaos, and not all of them are sober as they would be if they left at 4 or 5 am. People are going to go out if they want to. There was nothing wrong with the way things were. At least it was safer that way. Sounds like maybe you just want your boyfriend home on the weekends. Just sayin...ahem...lol
  • by vegas bartender Location: valdosta on Mar 1, 2012 at 06:28 PM
    ok ok, 1st off my sketchy bosses dont live in kinderlou forest, 2nd off the bass has been cut off completely. i can barely here the music when im walking into work from my car, so to tell me u can hear from your house is crazy. also there is a reason they changed the name and tried to 'change crowds', its bc they wanted to apease the community and shut everyone up....guess what? no one supported it so they had a good reason to god back, and why might u ask...well the whole point of owning a business is to make money not lose it! do u want own abuisness and lose money.... lets have the city change the shopping days of walmart to one day a week...yea right, sam walton would roll over in his grave. well im not dead yet and im rolling over, the did this without fair and proper notice.....btw yes im white, i have a great day job and yes i bartend at a black bar!
  • by Let The Dog Out on Feb 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM
    Find your DD, your drunk enough!
  • by GSP Location: BEMIS ROAD on Feb 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM
    THE LAST ONES OUT THE BAR ARE THE MOST FUN TO ARREST. I WAS BORN TO ARREST DRNK DRIVERS.
    • reply
      by God Bless America on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:43 PM in reply to GSP
      As long as you catch them before they kill someone. I think it would be safer to let them get drunk in bars.
  • by Ponytail on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM
    I live a few miles away from this loud joke. I have spent many sleepless nights with my bedroom walls vibrating from the awful ghetto bootie bopping. My little neighborhood is very quiet until Vegas opens its sleazy doors on Thursday - Saturday. Who the heck parties on Thursday night anyway???? My family has continuous interrupted nights when we all have jobs & school to go to the next day. I have in fact called the bar & the police but it's a total waste of time! I really wish I could move to get away from the tacky bar but we all can't afford to live in Kinderlou Forest like some sketchy bar owners can. Thanks for degrading the West Side Community. Sincerely, Mama in da Hood
    • reply
      by VSU Grad on Apr 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM in reply to Ponytail
      Thursday night is the traditional party night at colleges nation-wide because many kids don't have classes on Fridays and go home on weekends.
  • by kid kat Location: Florida on Feb 28, 2012 at 08:42 AM
    please, do not grumble...what if you lived in a DRY county like I do & can't buy acohol at all. Cheer Up!!!!!!
  • by God Bless America on Feb 28, 2012 at 06:12 AM
    Cool...now they will drink on the streets and drive drunk.
  • by John on Feb 28, 2012 at 04:53 AM
    We need to elect some new young blood to the Lowndes county board of commissioners. They have lost touch with the young adults of the time.
  • by SoberCitizen Location: Valdosta on Feb 27, 2012 at 08:08 PM
    First - can't anyone see that this kind of law is getting them a little bit more of our freedom. There is not much freedom now and it is only going to get worse. Try flying or just walking through an airport. Second - How can you blame this on Vegas when there has been a bar at that location for as long as I can remember. I bet almost all who live around it moved in knowing a bar was there. Now look back to the first statement.......Kiss freedom as we use to know GOODBYE. Oh...and yeah, I bet one day there will be a certain time to buy milk if you need it!
    • reply
      by John on Apr 8, 2012 at 01:51 PM in reply to SoberCitizen
      Amen!!I'm glad to see that someone else sees the BIG picture. Most of the people who have posted on here just want the government to fix little issues here and there without worrying about us slowly losing our freedom.
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