During Tuesday’s City Council meeting in Statesboro, District One Councilman Phil Boyum introduced a discussion regarding downtown restaurant Southern City Lounge, located at 25 West Main Street in Downtown Statesboro.

Citing a recent order from administrative judge Tom Peterson, Boyum called on City Attorney Cain Smith to provide clarity on the actions taken against the establishment.

Smith stated that a hearing was held at the request of City officials and Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead, who asserted that the business is “a danger to public health and safety.” While officials called for Southern City’s license to be revoked, Judge Peterson opted to impose a fine and issue a temporary suspension instead.

Tuesday evening, Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead fielded questions from City Council members regarding multiple incidents related to Southern City Lounge in downtown Statesboro. Credit: Bobby NeSmith / Grice Connect

Dating back to early 2020, Southern City Lounge has been at the center of dozens of emergency calls including ones for shots fired and various incidents involving weapons. In April 2022, the business was involved in a multiple-shooter event downtown, where more than 30 shell casings were located across several blocks.

Boyum insisted that the establishment does not meet the City’s operational requirements for a restaurant. “To me, this business is being deceptive and they are lying to us,” Boyum said. “If you’re going to lie to us about what kind of business you run, you do not deserve to have the license.”

Councilwoman Venus Mack suggested that a conversation between City Council, the Statesboro Police Department, and the business owners could lead to a better solution than simply revoking their license.

Fellow Councilwomen Shari Barr and Paulette Chavers mirrored her sentiments, with Barr clarifying that the option to invoke the general welfare provision of the City’s charter and revoke Southern City’s license remains on the table indefinitely.

Boyum entered a motion to invoke said provision during Tuesday’s meeting. Because it failed to receive a second, it did not proceed to Council vote.

Bobby NeSmith

Bobby NeSmith is a Bulloch County native who enjoys connecting with our community. He first discovered his love for media at Portal High School and is known for his thoughtful and engaging contributions...