Local lounge to re-open

Published 9:41 am Friday, November 7, 2008

The Charter House Inn has received the local OK to continue serving food and alcohol in a revamped lounge setting, although changes at the motel caused some discussion among the Bainbridge City Council on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, the city council approved an alcoholic beverage license application from the Charter House Management Group to allow the motel’s lounge to serve beer and wine, and mixed drinks. The Charter House has decided to take over management of the lounge from Cheshire Trawick, who ended his operation of The Landing last week.

At present, the lounge is closed until the Georgia Department of Revenue approves a state alcoholic beverage license for the lounge.

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At issue Tuesday night were the City of Bainbridge’s requirement that holders of spirituous pouring licenses also conduct food service during their hours of business. Previously, mixed drinks were served in the Charter House’s restaurant area.

The changes at the Charter House partially stem from water damage to the motel’s banquet rooms after Tropical Storm Fay dumped between 1 to 2 feet of rain on Decatur County during the last week of August. In the aftermath, the motel’s restaurant—Terri Lynn’s Place—was forced to close, although Terri Lynn Anvar continued her catering business. Anvar will remain the “preferred caterer” for functions held at the motel after renovation of its banquet rooms is completed sometime later this month, according to Leslie Bernier, the motel’s general manager.

City Council members Luther Conyers and Roslyn Palmer asked City Manager Chris Hobby how the Charter House planned to follow city rules if Terri Lynn’s Place was closing. Hobby said he had talked with the motel’s management and said they understood city ordinance requirements.

Bernier told The Post-Searchlight that food service would be offered at the new lounge utilizing the existing kitchen facilities, which were not damaged by the storm. Additional details about the new lounge will be announced at a future date, Bernier said.

City Councilman Joe Sweet, who had asked Hobby to read the applicable city ordinance, challenged whether the Charter House lounge could meet the city’s definition of a restaurant, including being able to serve full-course meals, have seating for 60 persons and have 2,000 square feet of parking. Hot food also has to be offered while the lounge is open.