By Sean Ditch
On Thursday, June 29th, 2023 Lebanon Mayor Cheri Wright, who is also head of Lebanon’s Liquor Commission, revoked the Liquor License of Ron’s Lounge. The revocation lasted 7 days, the maximum amount allowed, as Mayor Cheri Wright shared in the city council meeting on July 10th. During that time, a paper sign on the front door said “TEMPORARILY NO ALCOHOL- FOOD ORDER 11AM-7PM ONLY-SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS.”
Jennifer Robinson, Manager of Ron’s Lounge, was not too pleased with the decision.
“We have employees here that this affects, this affects me as well,” shared Robinson. “We’ve always been willing to work with the city, always. We’re extremely upset by this, and we hope we can fight it.”
Ron’s Lounge is appealing the revocation that was set last month. The busiest times for Ron’s Lounge are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights, when classes at nearby McKendree University are in session. According to details shared by the city at a hearing before the final city council meeting last month, believed to have been serving underage patrons in the bar. However Robinson’s side of the story seems to differ.
“They are alleging that they have ticketed people outside of here [Ron’s Lounge], on the street; the same two police officers three or four times in a month,” expressed Robinson. “However I’ve never been ticketed for serving alcohol to a minor. Never. None of my bartenders have.
“They’re [the city of Lebanon] alleging, because of that, I’m unqualified to run the bar, and they still get complaints. We haven’t had a noise complaint since May of last year.”
Robinson also shared displeasure on how the revocation the afternoon of Thursday, June 29th took place.
“A Lebanon Police Officer pulled up in front of my children playing in the front yard and proceeded to walk up and hand me an envelope,” recalled Robinson. “I opened it up and he waited for me to open it up. I opened it in front of my kids, and he asked me where I could find my boss. I just remember crying from there.
“He then told me I had to meet him at the bar within the hour to hand him the liquor license on the wall. This was all done in front of my children in the front yard.”
Robinson shared details on an agreement made with the city last year on how measures were put in place in order to stop underage patrons from drinking inside the bar, such as increasing the number of security cameras and security guards at both front and rear entrances as well as an identification card scanner at the front entrance. She shared that after 9 PM, no one under 21 was allowed entry, and all patrons had to enter through the front door.
“We also took extra measures that they were aware of, which was ID bracelets,” shared Robinson, meaning when you walk in, your banded.
“We also learned through trial and error on our own that some things weren’t working and switched to permanent markers.”
Mayor Cheri Wright shared she wouldn’t comment on the matter until the appeal process is complete. On Thursday, July 6th, the revocation ended, and business resumed as usual inside the bar, while the appeal is ongoing.