SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Tempers flared yet again at Thursday’s Savannah City Council meeting.
Council members argued during the alcohol licensing portion of the meeting when the majority voted to deny the license for a chain bar and lounge called Cru yet to be located on East Victory Drive.
It’s located in Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan’s district who said people living there are not looking for a lounge that serves alcohol.
Although some city council members believe the decision to turn down the license goes deeper than just that Alderwoman Keisha Gibson-Carter saying at the meeting, that very few Black business owners have alcohol licenses in Savannah.
“Right now we have over 600 bars and liquor serving establishments in this city and I can’t count them that are owned by African Americans on two hands,” said Post 1 At Large, Kesha Gibson Carter.
This is the second time operators of Cru lounge have come before Savannah City Council. The last time in July 2022. At that time the lounge met all the requirements but council denied the request over parking and traffic concerns.
Fast forward to 2023 and not much has changed but this time its because its district leader said its not wanted.
“And here we are basing our decisions because of the personal vendetta that the third district alderwoman has against black owned businesses,” Post 2 At Large Alicia Miller Blakely said.
WSAV spoke to one of the owners today who said the lounge was fully furnished and ready to open within a week — if their alcohol license was approved.
Those owners told the council they could be out hundreds of thousands of dollars that they initially invested.
“How much did you all invest in this business? To get your product where you could open from the lease to your inventory,” Gibson-Carter said.
Brittnay O’Neal, who owns the lounge responded: “$330,000.”
Alderwoman Linda Wilder-Bryan told News 3 that she personally knocked on doors and 3rd district residents did not want a nightclub. She also told WSAV the club owners never spoke to her about their plans.