Tue., October 23, 2012 3:30pm (EDT)

Savannah Looks Again At Bar Rules
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
New "teen clubs" have sprouted around Savannah after the city banned people under 21 from entering bars.  (photo Washington Jefferson College)
New "teen clubs" have sprouted around Savannah after the city banned people under 21 from entering bars. (photo Washington Jefferson College)
Savannah officials are reconsidering a ban the city put in place six years ago against anyone under 21 entering bars.

The ban angered many in the city's live music scene and pushed problems to other spots teens hang out.

City Council members passed the ban to curb underage drinking.

But police say, they're still seeing disorderly conduct and drug and alcohol violations, only now at new "teen clubs" that escape many laws because they don't serve alcohol.

City Council member Tony Thomas says, the problems simply have moved.

"This is like skating rinks. This is like bowling alleys. This is like 'teen clubs,'" Thomas says. "We've got 18-year-olds hanging out with 13-year-olds."

Thomas says, the ban only hurts legal businesses, not offenders.

"The penalties should be against those that violate the ordinance not against the establishments and changing the rules," Thomas says.

Officials are reconsidering the rules for teens and bars for the first time since 2006 when musicians and bar owners fought unsuccessfully against a series of measures aimed at city nightlife.

They say, the city's nightlife has suffered since teens no longer can support musicians and the bars that hire them through cover charges.