Savannah City Council denies alcohol license for The Stage on Bay

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Facing opposition from some in the community, and the vast majority of Savannah City Council, it was decided that The Stage on Bay will not get an alcoholic beverage license.

The new concert and performance venue on West Bay Street was set to open its doors Friday night with The Marshall Tucker Band, but that isn't going to happen now.

The CEO of The Stage on Bay has said how crucial the license was for the success of his business, so not getting it is all but shutting the idea down for good.

An 8-1 denial of the license from the council will also set the city up for a legal battle. Still, pointing to the needs and well-being of the West Savannah and Hudson Hill neighborhoods, Alderman Van Johnson led the charge against the business being able to sell alcohol saying the decision was a matter of courage.

The Stage on Bay contingent had this to say after the meeting.

"In this case, my client simply wanted to open his business and bring great music to Savannah. But the city council, unfortunately, has defied their own ordinances and defied the law, and taken from my client the ability to open the business that he wanted to open. And that gives us no choice except to go to court," said Attorney Will Claiborne, the lawyer representing The Stage on Bay.

"It seems to be quite a cavalier approach to people who want to invest money in Savannah. And I would certainly advise anyone who's from outside, look at the record and give it a second thought," said The Stage on Bay CEO, Charles Schmitt.

The Stage on Bay announced on Facebook Thursday evening that the Marshall Tucker Band will be performing Friday at the Lucas Theater.

According to the post, all tickets will be honored. Schmitt said they will be announcing soon how people who've already purchased tickets to this weekend's events could also get refunds.

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